Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My approach to Empire Avenue

I get the impression that most people who've already embraced Empire Avenue have all their eggs - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog - in the one basket that is themselves. So, all their social presence is plugged into a single identity.

Empire Avenue, assuming all people are like the above, only allows you to connect to one Twitter account, one Facebook account,, whereas I might have liked to add all six of my blogs and their respective Twitter accounts to my single Empire Avenue account, I can't.

But I think I've found a way around this limitation.

Head Office
I set up my personal ticker, (e)DGA as a holding company. My personal Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube accounts are all connected to this, but aside from LinkedIn, my activity in these are not high, and are not going to push my share value through the roof.

The only shares this holding company owns is from my six blogs which I call subsidiaries. I do buy shares from outside my conglomerate, but that buying happens at the appropriate subsidiary level.

Each of the six blogs (including this one) with their respective Twitter account are connected to their own ticker. All of my blogs are endorsed and approved as blogs. So now, all my social media activity, across my entire landscape, will blip the (e)DGA radar, including the nifty feature that its activity feed shows each blog entry and each tweet, all funneling into the one location.

Empire Avenue is a game and, as such, it may reflect reality in some aspects and not so much in others. To be sticky, it also is attempting to bring more to the table than merely a place to track online activity - it has created its own environment, vocabulary (dollars are "Eaves", etc...) and methodology for ascertaining value which is not linear.

The more blog posts that are written do not necessarily equate to a higher ranking. The same for tweets. Beyond quantitative valuation, there is also a qualitative valuation which may or may not reflect reality as you might. Their FAQ explains that they continue to monitor how well their approach works and will tweak and evolve the approach over time. It's not perfect but then, neither was Monopoly - they are both games with a set of rules that not only somewhat reflect reality but also create their own reality.

As such, my subsidiary share price may not skyrocket like other shooting stars, as I don't play the game like others or engage social media to the extent that others do.

But I'm also growing and learning and, as my social media engagement evolves, perhaps I'll be able to track that with an objective measure such as the price of my shares.

It is, however, a little more than "just a game." For example, if you increase your Twitter followers, your Twitter ranking goes up as does your share price. So, if someone buys your shares, it makes sense for them to also follow your Twitter account.

Further, even they they don't go to Twitter and follow you there, once someone owns your shares, they can see your blog posts and tweets, which effectively increases your exposure anyway.

Through Empire Avenue, which is social environment, I've met people from around the world, and I'm not a heavy player or online personality at all. The opportunity to reach out and meet people is very present.

Of course, there will be the "Invest in me" flotsam that has nothing to do with any real connection of humans or ideas. But that's the nature of the beast - the game can be what you make of it. As it appears set to grow, it makes sense to at least pay attention to it. It may be a flash in the pan, it may burn brightly and then fizzle out, but trying to keep abreast of all the various entities on the Conversation Prism and the growing pantheon of social media properties, demands that we pay attention to this rising star.

Potholes and speed bumps on the Avenue
One criticism I have of my EA experience thus far is, it's a "busy" interface, perhaps not altogether unlike the sensation of an 80s video arcade. I find it a tad buggy, actually (and that's with a relatively high speed DSL connection and using Chromium or Firefox in Ubuntu/Linux). That's not cool, and I'll be interested to see if the entire slowness is all on my side or if others have a similar problem.

Also, from an engagement point of view, engaging a real conversation with real people has not yet been my experience. When it comes to LinkedIn, conversations in Groups is a very popular and engaging feature, and I contribute to plenty of conversations in the various groups I've joined.
There are groups in Empire Avenue, so delving into that part of the street should make for an interesting follow up to this first post.