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What is "Gift Giving" on LSU? Why do I Want to do That?

Hello Surveyors!
You have most likely noticed that everyone's profile has a "Gift" application at the top by default and wondered to yourself "What the heck is that?"

Maybe you thought it was dumb and just continued about your business-perhaps you gave it a whirl. Don't give up so easy-there is actually a good reason for giving gifts. What i am here to tell you about may be of great interest to any of you who are interested in building lasting relationships with other land surveyors on LSU. When you give a "gift" on the network, you are doing more than asking for another member's friendship- you are expressing sentiment and sending good energy. For your information, Gift giving, in Japanese culture is as important in business as a handshake in the United States.

Why Custom Gifts are better for Land Surveyors United
I will be the first to admit that the majority of ning's gift options are junk. These things like virtual flowers and teddy bears are crap that no surveyor in thier right mind would send to another person, much less another surveyor. The exciting news is that I have discovered a way to upload custom gift icons to the network such as total stations, software, GPS and data collectors. These "gifts" make for better expressions of appreciation and conversation openers than some random Hallmarky glitter dog from the 90's. Also, I would like to extend this option to all of you who would like to add a custom gift to the network.

Here's how you make a "Custom Gift":
  1. Open any image editor such as Photoshop, Aviary or GIMP
  2. Create a new document at 64px X 64px with a resolution of 72dpi
  3. Now open any picture on your harddrive such as a bushaxe or tribrach for example
  4. Resize that image so that the longest side is adjusted to 64px-now drag it over onto the blank document you just created.
  5. Clean the image up anyway you like and Save for Web as a jpg, png or gif file
  6. Name it something which represents what the image is, separating words with an underscore (_) (for example: bush_axe.png or Sokkia_stratus_gps.png)
  7. Now send this image to me at landsurveyorsunited-at-gmail and I will upload it for you.

Some Example Gifts:

I have been building Ning networks for close to 3 years and only recently began to have the slightest interest in this whole "gift-giving" phenomenon. I descovered that if used in a slightly different manor than it was intended, I could leverage the power of the gift to do more than just ask someone for friendship-I could go a little bit further and actually open lines of communication. Just as an example, a few days ago we had a new member join us who is a very insightful representative from a well known equipment manufacturer. As a token of appreciation for joining our network (and hopefully inspiration to share the vast amount of experience and knowledge that this individual has with the group) I created a custom gift for them out of a photograph that I had taken of a piece of equipment from thier company.

Gifts are purchased with points, which every member has for free when they join. However, if you give a lot of gifts you will find yourself virtually broke, quick. You get 100 points when you first sign up and you use these to purchase gifts from the gift shop, which you then leave for other members in the network on thier profile pages. Just click “Send Gift” to complete the transaction. At launch, each gift costs 75 credits, or $1.50. When you run out of points, you can purchase more credits through the Gift Store with a PayPal account. You can use these gifts to represent tokens of appreciation or make them represent real-world discounts and services related to your particular business.

Why would I Want to Give Gifts?
At this point, members purchasing gifts for other members is actually the only source of revenue for LSU-at least until I break down and make the planned site upgrades. In other words, LSU remains free for all members and always will-yet if you would like to give back a little something to the community, purchase gifts for other members and consider it your donation to the network. Ning splits the revenue 50/50 with me so it's not like I'm bankrolling on LSU- in fact, I am actually happy to announce that I have never made one solitary penny off of LSU. I created it and maintain it because land surveyors need this sort of resource, not because I plan to make money off of you. Lets face it, most of you at one time or another found Land Surveyors United because you have an equipment issue or trouble making something work. I'm not the type of person who can feel comfortable by profiting off of your troubles in the field- I merely want you all to be able to find solutions.

Here is an informative video on how to create custom gifts:"">Find more videos like this on Creators

With all of that said, I just thought you deserved an explanation for the existance of a "gift" in a social network comprised of land surveyors. The default gifts are crap and I am open to uploading any custom gifts which you would like to give on the network. If you were looking for a way to donate or give back to the network and assist with expenses involved with maintaining the site, purchasing points for gifts is the way to go. Check out the gift store and you will see examples of some custom land surveying related gifts-then give them to your new friends and collaborators on LSU. I've taken it upon myself to make the gifts as cheap as possible, so that you can give more before having to purchase more. Every day is a good day for gift giving, if you're a land surveyor! Good luck and let me know if there's anything I can do to help you make gifts or learn how to give.

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Justin Farrow... Creator of Land Surveyors United and Mobile Apps for Land Surveyors

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