People have been telling me I've "just GOT to sign up for Empire Avenue", and "it's a true measure of the real social influence of the experts". Bullshit. It's a game. It's a relatively interesting game, especially if you like to watch ant farms. Anybody who is signed up can tell you how quickly you're inundated with private emails telling you "I'm a great investment" stating their growth and asking for participation to get them more "eaves". Um, come to think of it that's probably why everybody was asking me to join in the first place...
So what's this all about?
Basically Empire Avenue is a community (and I use that term loosely here) where members buy and sell virtual shares in each other in the hopes of getting rich in currency of the site, called "eaves". The site takes your activities on the site, the investments in you and the amount of social interaction on popular social media sites as runs some sort of algorithm to gauge your value overall.
How to win at Empire Avenue
If you want to increase your value you make your investors happy, interact a lot on your social networks and on the site and voila! Your shares spike and you look like a big deal. As a spam engine Empire Avenue excels. You can spend a few eaves and create ads or directly email your shareholders. Here's a very good post on ways to game it if you really want to increase your "value", and here's another.
Does the site measure your influence? Sure it does. It measures the influence you have over your share price. That's not necessarily relevant to your social influence. Wanna find out? Join here, and help me get more eaves.
Is it fun?
Sure if you're into stock trading and games. If you're in it for community forget it. Discussions range from buy me! Buy Me! BUY ME! to blatant spam. Sure, there are a few genuine attempts at interaction but they are so quickly buried you have to scroll through reams of spam to find them.
Do people I respect play the game?
Sure they do, and I invested in many of them. All the big social media names have an account, probably for the same reasons I do. They like to play with the shiny new toys too. I see some major brands like Ford and have bought into the space and that is an interesting commentary on how big brands are chasing social media to reach the audience. But take a look at this screen shot of Ford's Share price and tell me this isn't a flash in the pan.
Will they continue to play it?
Maybe about as long as Foursquare. No really, if the communities at Empire Avenue started to actually contain conversation it could be interesting. It would take some re-designing of the system. For example it's very hard to follow the threads of shout outs on your profile. Actually finding conversation is a needle in a haystack sort of thing and the notification system doesn't help much. Then I have to remind myself it's a game. It's not really about community, it's about having fun trading shares. Actually it's quite good at that part, and as games go it can be a fun time suck buying and selling, gaming the system to raise the value of your shares etc.
Empire Avenue is a fun, potentially addictive game. I needed to join to be able to discuss it with clients with a modicum of intelligence and so I did. For me? I simply can't afford to get sucked into games like this. I've got a respectable stock price and for a while it probably will increase, but I won't spend a lot of energy on it. I can't. Social media is my business and my passion. Watching it grow, coaching new clients, learning about new industries, now that's my kinda fun!