The Power Of Community In Minneapolis: Jim Durbin and Craig Fisher At #MNREC
Empire Avenue Metrics: Twitter Follower Growth

Empire Avenue: The DNA Of Angry Birds, InTrade, And Radian 6

Empire Avenue is a social media stock market game where you buy and sell profiles with a virtual currency.  You sign in, connect your social media accounts like Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, and boom, you get a share price.

From there, you're thrown on the open market, where friends, investors, and other folks on the platform buy and sell you, pushing your price up and down based on their criteria.  Well, that's not all - your stock and dividend price are also greatly influenced by your social activity.  Get retweeted for great content?  Leave a lot of comments on Facebook?   Have a lot of connections on YouTube?  All of these impact your score, as does activity on the site.  The higher your dividends, the more people buy and hold.  It's the free market at work (pun intended). 


Picture 4

Sounds fun, right?  It is, and it's highly addictive, but like all sequential games that award points, levels, and badges, you eventually burn out and move on (Angry Birds Rio anyone?).  And that's where Empire Avenue differs.  It's a game, but it's also a social network and a social dashboard and a research site that helps you monitor your activity, that of your friends, and provides you access to networks of people you never would find on your own.

I'm a big fan.  A supporter.  I spend real money to buy upgrades and eaves (the currency - empire ave ='s eaves), and then build networks out of my lists to identify investment opportunities versus friends versus business connections.  And I'm hooked.

Empire Avenue gives me the addiction of a game with a visual inspection of connections (vital to recruiters and marketers and salespeople), but it also connects with me people., folks like Ron Capps (e)NicheProf, an educator from Missouri, or Chris Latko (e)CLAKTO, a developer living in Tokyo.  It's connected me to recruiters and social media folks, of course, but it also connects me with musicians, college students, housewives, executive, and hobbyists, whose networks I've never seen, and whose social media reach differs than mine in every way.

This is important to note, because most people talking about Empire Avenue see it as a way to connect with those of like minds.  The problem is lots of sites already do that, from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter to Flickr to YouTube. Empire Avenue connects them all, like the One Ring, and binds them into a single profile you have to spend finite resources to acquire.

Picture 5

Talk about potential.  When I send out a tweet, I reach a possible 6000+ followers.  When I go on Empire Avenue, it's like adding StumbleUpon, Digg, and the front page of the local paper, because my content is seen by massively connected people who never heard of me, but who bought me because my shares and dividends are good.  It's now a message multiplier, it's a network multiplier.  And the best part is the community is self-policing.  The stock market requires content to keep prices up, but your personal networks won't allow you to spam them, so 500 Facebook comments will lead you to losing friends, all for a temporary bump in price.  This forces you to create quality content, connect with people, and keep your social networks happy, while simultaneously boosting your share price through activity. The beauty of the system is it rewards good behavior.

Now the system is new.  Lots of behaviors have to be ironed out.  But the founders and the staff are pretty open to changes, and are riding the changes, rather than forcing them.  That speaks very highly to both their vision and the success of the site, as the people who are involved the most tend to be highly connected already.  It feels a lot like the blogging communities did from 2001-2004, when small groups of helpful people hashed out behavior patterns, which then created the "rules" of conduct for each community.  That's what makes it sticky.  Empire Avenue is a safe place you can share information in your communities (private ones), and get value back. 

I'd strongly encourage you to join, if for no other reason than to be able to monitor your own social media usage (it tells you how many comments, likes, posts you make in a week on all of your social sites).  As you get deeper in, wIll share investment strategies, communication networks, and most important, how to get the most value from your time here and in the site.  

So how do you join?

1) Don't just go there.  Find a friend or someone already in the game, and ask them to invite you.  While you can join on your own, accepting an invite gives you and them an extra 2000 eaves.

2) Invite 25 friends and then bug them until they join.  This gives you 50,000 more eaves to start, and gives you a group to play with.

3) Join your local communities and your interests.  

4) When buying and when bought, reach out to the people and talk to them.  They'll be interested in chatting with you, I promise. 


Good luck.  I'm (e)SMHeadhunter.  And congratulations. You'll be joining, and quickly comprehending gamification of business, the next big thing.  And I don't say that lightly.  


For other blog posts on the site, check out.

Jeremiah Owyang (a recent, enthusiastic convert and social media rockstar) 

Caleb Storkey

Hank Plumley

Scott Wendling

Michael Long