So, you want your own Empire? Part II


Researched, edited, written and presented by


In the first part of this mini-series, “So, you want your own Empire?” I visited some of the basics that I have concluded from years of organising, and leading, various groups, teams and task groups. That’s an important thing to keep in mind I think, I’m not “blowing smoke” here, I’m drawing on professional and non-professional experience to bring this here and none of it is cast in stone tablets. You can pick up texts on “Group and Team Building” everywhere, not to disparage book learning but don’t you think, in many things,  experience, success, and even failures, make better teachers?

Anyway, in this second part I am going to look at the second tier of group building.. mostly the planning and establishing that comes after the heady rush of the brilliant idea.


So, how’d you get on? Got a plan to go with your brilliant idea? Got some friends all hyped up? Got yourself a web-presence for your “Group”, your fledgling empire?

Now, what ya going to do with it?

Let’s assume, for the sake of the exercise, that you and four friends, tried and true, are in on the plan. Good. Let’s say you have set up “shop” and now you’re looking to attract general members to bolster the ranks, to give the “Empire” impetus and to take it from the “special interest” to the “Focus group” stage. Where are you going to look? What’s your hook? What are you going to offer that no one else does?

In a culture, an online community, where pretty much everything has been “done to death” (or so people would have you believe) what can you do to bring people to your magnificent creation?

Consider this, EVERYONE has to, had to, start someplace… hells bells even President #45 started with a couple of bucks and an idea sometime, do you really think that he is a better person than you? Think about it…

Pic. Credit –

The first consideration you need to make is what type of membership are you going to cater for? Is it going to be strictly “Rock collectors”? “Poetry Lovers”? “Sanguinarians”? “Psi-Vamps”? This is going to determine how you manage membership admissions. Are you going to include “supporters of”? Or, are you going to accept anyone whom has a general interest in the subject/s at your “empire”?

It is a vital part of the plan, at this stage, that you have a. a purpose, b. a plan and c. a method. For without these things you are going to end up with a Friday night crowd at a local bar scenario… general mayhem in other words.

PURPOSE: Make it clearly known, amongst your existing members and to prospective members what your purpose is. Don’t beat around the bush, tell them who you are, what you do and why you have this group. This will help in attracting potential members with “like minds” which is how your empire will become stronger. It’s because of the membership that, ultimately, a group will succeed or fail.

PLAN: How are you going to communicate with your members? How are you going to include your members in the aims and goals? Are you just going to issue newsletters created by an “Editorial Staff”? Are you going to create group created documents, books, pamphlets or some such thing? Are you going to hold simple “Topical” discussions? Are you going to have regular membership meetings?

All of these details need to be together, somehow, in an operational plan because the operational plan is how an organisation measures success and gauges what is benefiting the group as opposed to things which the group aren’t really interested in. You absolutely must, at all times, engage the maximum number of your members as possible. In this way you will find your members will be energised and will find the incentive to become truly and actively involved.

In this you will, hopefully, avoid the curse of the “Periodic membership interest poll/ post”, you will avoid having to send out group messages such as, “Hey, only 13 out of 200 members here lately, who doesn’t want to be a member anymore?

The method for administering the “empire” is a crucial step, and a very necessary tool that must be refined, retuned, coaxed along and reviewed regularly. Not everything you do will work, not everything you propose will be accepted, not everything you wish for will materialise… I still don’t have my $350,000,000 national lottery win in the bank despite all the wishing in the world…!

The “Method” can include such things as, regular staff meetings (chat or meetup) between the admins of the group to discuss how the group is going and/or how it could be improved. It can include putting out regular “newsletters” to the membership about the group and the activities of the group and/or its members – many people undertake benefit work that can inspire others to do similar and in general reflect well on your “empire” – let your general membership know about these things, congratulate your members on their achievements, it will make others want to achieve.

Encourage participation at every turn. Accept each member and acknowledge their strengths and the positives they bring to the group, in this way more members will be encouraged and feel empowered.

Or, just sit on your throne and wait for your members to flock to you and kneel at your feet to worship you… regret to advise but that won’t last too long. If you are going to hold yourself up as some kind of “go to” guy or gal you better get ready for a lot of razzing and a general lack of respect for your over inflated ego. Definitely a trap for young, or old, players.

Pic. credit –

Members, members, members…. Ahhhh yes, members… the people you are doing all this for, the lifeblood of your, and every other, group but how do you KNOW that the person who wants to join is actually going to be comfortable/productive or beneficial to your group?

This is where the first stage of membership planning comes in, the point where you decided whether you are building your group to be a helpful, supportive and vibrant resource for others or a closed society for you to gather only those who agree with you.
Don’t get me wrong here, either way is fine but you need to have some method of assessing membership applications.

Some organisations have lengthy “packages” where you have to answer a hundred questions about yourself, you have to demonstrate why you think you will be an asset and sign all sorts of “I agree to’s”… kinda like going for a new job.

Other groups employ “Recommendation Process”, that is, you can only get in if an existing member is willing to vouch for you.

Still others have come up with a “Three Step” approach, the three steps being,

Step 1. Firstly have the prospective member answer three simple questions such as why they want to be in the group, what do they hope to gain from the group and, perhaps more importantly, what will they be bringing to the group.

Step 2. Review their timeline if they have Facebook. Unless they have a private timeline you can see what they regularly post about, if it’s all about their myriad illnesses and how hard everything is that might raise a red flag, are they looking for a new audience? If they are obviously young and consistently posting about drugs, gangs, guns and Satan then you probably don’t want them in your group. Are they in 1438 other groups and have 3,290 friends? Then they are probably looking for another “Trophy” to hang on their wall for whatever reason and it is seriously doubtful whether they will be a consistent and beneficial member for you.

Step 3. Talk amongst yourselves. Set up a “Chat” that can be used only for communication about group matters between you and your co-owners/administrators. Compare notes, share your instincts and take a vote on whether you think they would be good for the group.

img. source: Parks Library Preservation on

So, let’s assume you have Purpose, Plan and Method all set and it all looks good on paper – that is after you have applied the K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(illy) theory. On paper versus in reality… yeahhhhh…sometimes can be a problem, you need to stay flexible and responsive and the more complicated you make something the more time you are going to have to put into it, or the more staff you are going to need to run it… think major manufacturing plant versus ‘Mom-and-Pop’s Deli’.

However, let’s assume your empire has the sound foundations and it’s time to start receiving new members and guests. How do you know if someone is going to fit in with your group? Do you care? Do you think that variety is the spice of life? Do you want a ‘Friday night at the local bar’ scenario?

Most, if not all, the bigger and more successful Houses, Clans, Temples or Organisations have standards that they expect their members to adhere to and this needs to be addressed very early on, how do you want your members to behave? Are you among those whom believe that “Freedom of Speech regardless of consequence” is appropriate? Are you of the school of thought that “Common human decency and polite dignity” is the best way to conduct a group?

If you are of the former belief then, hey, all power…and good luck with that to ya, better get yourself some hard core moderators to keep watch over the crowd… get yourself some “bouncers”.

If you are of the latter school of thought then although you will still need moderators you will be well served by having some sort of pre-vetting method for potential members. I have known of several different methods, worked with a few, and I can’t really say with any assurance that one works better than the other. It all depends on what you feel comfortable with. I have known groups that simply admit members under the banner “Newbie”, “Acolyte”, “Seeker” or whatever other term might be seen as appropriate and then it becomes a probationary period situation where if said member gets three strikes or more in a given time frame – BOOM… bye bye.

I have seen “Membership Applications” ranging between one to twenty pages of statements, questions and affirmations. I have seen groups employ Twin Portals, one is the Main Group, or House and outside of that is another portal where potential full members serve out a specified period of time; a probation, before being accepted as a full member.

Yet others will admit a person then present them with a compendium of the Fifty Rules of House Horrorthon… and tell the newbie that if they break anyone of the rules they will boil in a large vat of communal ridicule before being ejected and having their name slandered all over Facebook.

Establish a common sense method that is to be applied across the board and use it no matter what the circumstances, no matter what. One of the worst errors that any House leadership can do is show favouritism, it alienates other members and then the cracks will start to appear.


So, to review,

State your Purpose

Have a Plan in place

Have an established operational Method

Have a Membership plan and requirements detailed.

These are the next stages that build on the foundations and give you the walls to protect, defend and support. Remember, a well-planned and well executed meal will ALWAYS be better than something thrown together and quickly boiled the crap out of…!!!

Copyright TB & RVL, 2018

NEXT: In Part 3, what sort of “Emperor” is your Empire going to have? Common Sense Leadership.


NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer


Goin’ underground…

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Hey, here’s something we haven’t done for a while…

Some “Vampire” music from the underground and a little surprise to boot…


Sahara BandDesertology  



AudiomachineUnfinished Life (Composer: Danail Getz ~ ASCAP)

Company: Audiomachine


Don’t miss a great read….

Make sure you don’t miss Autoeroticasphyxium Zines interview with our very own Lady Ronin Costa… from across the really big pond to you courtesy of Dave Wolff

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To all our readers, have a great weekend, have a safe weekend,




but above all have fun and come back in one piece, okay?

Crossroads 2018 – When Worlds Collide

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past.”
~ John F. Kennedy ~

Researched, Edited, Written and Presented by

But When Worlds Collide

Said George Pal to his bride

 I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills”(1)

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When worlds collide, it’s a euphemism that has been, and is, used to cover a huge range of situations, social situations, personal situations, racial situations, intellectual and, of course, cultural situations.

There is no doubt that the modern Vampire culture has many things about it that don’t necessarily gel with the usually expected, dare we say “normal” (insert mundane if you wish) course of society so what happens when these two worlds collide.

The most common result is the “Tele-Vamp”, the person whom appears on daytime television and either attempts to explain “us” or those who appear to “make a name” with whatever actions/ statements they feel best fit the Vampire stereotype. Either way there is generally little harm or damage done in these instances. The general public may watch, shake their heads and smile. We may watch, shake our heads and groan.

There have been a number of documentaries produced with the assistance of highly credible and well-spoken members of the modern culture, they generate interest for a time, people come with serious questions, for a time but eventually these works become consigned to a teaching resource for our niche.

Within that scope so-far so-good but what happens when we, as a culture, come to the point of seriously engaging with people, bodies and organisations either on the fringe of, or completely outside our cultural identity?

Negotiating such involvements can be tricky and are fraught with danger because of the very way our “niche” operates within itself. An example, that embroils us at present, is one that all too frequently raises its head and that is making our endeavours into business arrangements.

John D. Rockefeller
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“A friendship built on business can be glorious, while a business built on friendship can be murder.”

– John D. Rockefeller

…and no more so than when the matter is conducted in the “online” sphere. Comments are exchanged, comments are made, agreement over specific points are easily typed but NONE of these are ever subjected to the standard business activities of meetings, documentation and signatures. In the old days, even in my old days in small towns where I grew up in, “handshakes” sealed deals, it was clearly understood who was obligated to whom, for what reason and it was clearly expected that the “debt” would be repaid in good time and good order. If you, as the recipient of services, did not attend to it promptly and properly the whole town would be behind the person wronged. That was the entire power of the “handshake”.

img. source: mensfitness,com


These days, and most especially via social media it’s more a case of, “Yeah, whatcha gonna do about it?” or, “I never said that – that’s a faked message”.

Where have you got to go with that? Absolutely nowhere and so the whole matter goes to the “Court of Public Opinion”, a “Trial by (social)Media” if you will.

An uproar currently raging involves alleged business dealings between an East Coast event organisation and a West Coast promotional agency, and in particularly, the involvement of one individual with that and with another planned event over the winter just passed. The details, unfortunately, can’t be spelled out herein because there is the possibility of legal action still to take place and thus we can’t name name’s or places due to that but in broad brush strokes there were two events planned and scheduled, one which actually happened and one did not. One person was involved in both of the event planning stages.

In a nutshell, and depending on whose offered “evidentiary” material you care to give more credence to, there were issues that occurred which brought into question the “promise” versus “delivery” and, over a short period of time, became a question of, “was this a pre-meditated action, or set of actions, designed to make improperly obtained profit”.

On the other hand, could it have been a huge case of “taken for granted based on snippets of previous contacts and conversations”?

Without signed contracts the legalities of the situation become complicated and the resolution becomes extremely difficult to achieve even if you can get the involved parties to the negotiating table together.

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The most obvious fallout from any situation like this is, naturally, the personal attacks that ensue when there is little concrete evidence available as to who did/said what and what time about what. No doubt about it, our culture is rife with this, it happens all the time on different scales and, the most damaging thing about that, the actions of a few can reflect badly on the work of many, many good people.

Next, of course, will almost certainly find some form of “scapegoating” occur when the fingers are pointed in one, or two, directions it seems that every ill-conceived, ill-advised and plain wrong thing that the target has ever made or done becomes a hot topic for discussion/ horror/ condemnation.

In this particular instance, much to the mystification of pretty much everyone, we have seen a person accused of starving pet animals to death, on purpose.

STEP BACK… Oh-kayyyyy, really? Is that right?
Hypothetically speaking, if a person is forced to move from a place and is unable to immediately take their pets with them (how many of you reading this have been in that situation? I know I have) and the next thing we know we are being treated to pictures of videos of pet cadavers, allegedly victims of starvation… colour me cynical if you will but I have to ask, where’s the vets certificate detailing the cause of death? And, if the cause was starvation, where were the people who so kindly provided the material? What were they doing while this allegedly happened? Standing by and watching just waiting for their chance to take corpse pictures??? Those would be my questions…

Yet this is the level of “bashing” that has come about as an indirect result of the crucifixion mentality in this instance.

When we arrive here we have to be very wary of things like Slander, a false spoken statement about someone that damages their reputation, or the making of such a statement. Libel, a piece of writing that contains bad and false things about a person and, of course, Defamation, to damage the reputation of a person or group by saying or writing bad things about them that are not true, any one of which can land the perpetrator in legal trouble and, quite possibly, court. I’m afraid you will find that Freedom of Speech does NOT cover Slander, Libel and Defamation.

In the course of trying to assist in resolving certain situations and in the course of researching, editing and preparing this presentation, I have been in close contact, either conducting interviews or discussions, or procuring written permission to present written materials corresponding to these matters, from all the main people intimately involved with both initial and ongoing situations. I have, as a result, material that supports complaint from pretty much all sides and in considering whether to place it all here in a special file for everyone to review I have had to, unfortunately, be mindful of the fact that since we have been advised that there may be legal proceedings in the offing, I can’t display that material at this time (so our advice has been received) but, I ask in all seriousness, what’s the point here? What questions arise from such a sequence of events?

Depending on the “friendships” and connections involved there are a number who will claim vindication regardless of the “evidence”, there will be those who will say, “Yes, but I LOST MONEY”, others will say “I lost reputation and business contacts”, maybe, “I lost credibility when it wasn’t really me that did…” and, unfortunately, there are those that will jump up and down about how so-and-so killed bunnies… and so it will go.

The main concern is that these incidents not be held as being representative of the entire Vampire Culture, there are a number of organisations out there, I have interviewed several both nationally and internationally, who are performing excellent and beneficial work in charity, social assistance and other projects who have, and are, conducting themselves in a most proprietary and creditable way – THEY do not deserve to be coloured with a tarry brush.

At some time or another everybody gets hurt, gets conned in one way or another, gets taken advantage of and gets used especially when you are talking about social media… all we can do is protect ourselves the best way we are able, where I come from we have an eleventh commandment (no offence nor slight intended to any of our Christian readers) and that is, “Cover thine arse“. Don’t promise to do things unless you have the means, the influence or the ability to make them happen, don’t make agreements for goods or services without getting properly generated governing documents drawn up and signed by all involved parties. If you’re going to have a dispute don’t go running to your friends to pour horror stories out about so-and-so, that’s cheap and nasty shot conduct and, while it may make you feel better and make someone feel a bit embarrassed until they get their supporters involved and escalate the situation in the end analysis it will only serve lower people’s opinions of you as well.

img. source:

As the famous songstress Lulu said,
“Friendship is Friendship. Business is Business”

In conclusion:

Perhaps there is some credence to the notion that has been floated a number of times that such disputes do need to be dealt with by an impartial body of adjudication, that of course is entirely dependent upon whether the “independent arbitrators” are trained and have the skillset to adjudicate such matters. In the main that is why we have civil courts.


Another thing we might also consider, think about a global situation that has existed for decades, the Israel/ Palestine issue… peace talks are carried out between Israel and Palestine with an officiating Facilitator approved by both. Another model that can be employed and which ends in a written and signed agreement to achieve a resolution.

The models are all around us in the world and yet we, as a culture, seem hell bent on embracing “drama” and “feud”, drama and feuds that we create, as a norm and, once created, are greeted with a majority of hands being thrown up to a bitter chorus of “Oh the drama, Oh the drama…!”, and not much in the way of solutions.

What does that say about our culture?
Copyright TB 2018

1) ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ – The Rocky Horror Picture Show,

Twentieth Century Fox and Michael White Productions, 1975


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Legal resource links regarding Slander, Libel and Defamation on Social Media–what-you-need-to-know.html


NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer