Monday, April 30, 2012

Help Save PicLits - Wednesday, May 2nd

Join me Wednesday, May 2nd, for a unique community brainstorming session on PicLits.com, the "creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture."

PicLits was conceived by Terry Friedlander in 2002:
"I read an article from USA TODAY which talked about the most often searched words and listed in the top ten was writing/poetry.  The numbers that I read were staggering.  Add that to my "refrigerator magnets, and a personal appreciation for photography and the emergence of the INTERNET/computers and you have a entrepreneurial  expensive project.  Being reluctant to take 'no' for an answer..., I persisted.  We actually launched the site in July of 2008.  It will be four years this July.  We did a few school presentations in Boise and Twin Falls, presented at CUE in Palm Springs in 2010, and that has been the extent of our marketing and zero advertising."
Terry admits that he is not a "computer person," and feels that for the site to keep going it needs a new home, new blood, new ideas, or all three. There has been a substantial initial investment and there are ongoing tangible costs to running PicLits (hosting, photo purchasing, "wordsmithing," etc.), and the dilemma he faces is that to create a premium or revenue model for the site and to take it to the next level (or even mobile) will require an energy or financial investment he is not prepared to make.

PicLits seems to have a lot going for it:  the site averages 260,000 visitors and 1.2 million page views per month. There are 40,000 registered users, most of whom are teachers from seven different countries.

Have you used PicLits? Do you like it? Is it worth saving?  Let us know in the comments, join the EdIncubator PicLits group at Classroom 2.0, and/or come on Wednesday to hear Terry tell his story and help brainstorm how to save PicLits.

Date: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8 pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2012-05-02.1718.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350.

Terry Friedlander, another old hippie from the sixties, is known to his peers as the “Survivor” (having nothing to do with the reality TV show). Terry actually grew up in California and graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1960 without honors. He attended several colleges based upon his ability to shoot three-point basketball shots when there was no three-point shot. The heavily female student body at UC Santa Barbara, hoop practice, and other assorted distractions made it difficult for Terry to awaken in time to attend very many classes. Nonetheless, he did graduate from University of Redlands (his fifth college) in four years which, during the sixties, was a near record performance. A major in history with a minor in physical education led to a high school teaching and coaching career in the Los Angeles area. Deviating from the norm and the expectations of the community led to a vocational and relocation change to the state of Washington where he was the athletic director of the Jewish Community Center for four years.

The good news was that Seattle during the seventies and eighties was inspirational to Terry’s desire to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. The dream came to light on one of the many grey, rainy days in Seattle. The idea was to create a retail store for professional sports team merchandise. With suggestions and tips from numerous friends, Terry modeled it after a store called “The Locker Room” based in Washington, D.C. For experience, Terry spent five weeks in D.C. following the owner around while taking copious notes and pictures. This period of self-employment is commonly known as instant poverty.

Starting with practically zero dollars, Terry found a financial partner and a location for the new retail store on one of the busiest prostitution corners in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle version of “The Locker Room” opened in 1976 on the day that the Seattle Seahawks NFL team played their first game. Happily, the store was filled with Seahawks merchandise and business was good from the start.

Sixteen years to the day later, Terry signed the papers and sold the company (which had grown to 10 stores). Alas, at this moment Terry’s identity also went missing. Inevitably, the earring, motorcycle, and tattoo that followed resulted in withdrawal therapy, stern words from his wife, and a serious mid-life crisis.

However, after regaining consciousness (he started cycling), Terry’s restless brain and love for the outdoors led to a move to Ketchum, Idaho. PicLits.com emerged one cold, Idaho night near the turn of the century, from a combination of refrigerator poetry, an interesting article in USA Today, some Sun Valley Pale Ale, and a roaring fireplace.

Go figure.

(http://www.piclits.com/about.aspx)
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