It’s all DiTesco’s fault.
That’s what I’ve been muttering since he dragged me into the highly addictive social media game known as Empire Avenue. At the time, I was on medical leave and Empire Avenue seemed like a good distraction from boredom. On the surface, it’s a simple little game: A human stock exchange where you can buy and sell shares of friends and celebrities, build up a portfolio, increase your own share value, and so on. “Buy and sell shares in your friends” sounds much better than “buy and sell your friends,” so right off the bat, this new twist on an old game had appeal its Facebook app predecessors lacked.
Key to success in building your virtual empire on Empire Avenue is increasing your level of engagement across a variety of social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube, Foursquare, Flickr, Facebook Pages, WordPress.com, Instagram, and – still in Beta, but coming soon (we hope) – Google+. You can connect multiple blogs and RSS feeds, as well, and these, too, contribute to your connection score, which in turn bumps up your share price since it increases the dividends your shares pay out to shareholders.
Is it essential to your business that you have a “presence” on Empire Avenue? At this point, the jury’s still out and I’m leaning towards “no,” although I’ve seen some brands use it more or less successfully to engage with key influencers and some do it better than others. But if you are interested in meeting some fascinating people from all over the world; building your personal and professional networks; tracking your own levels of activity and engagement in a variety of social media venues; and enlisting the aid of a socially active community to bring projects to fruition, then Empire Avenue is not a bad place to play. For example, “Shareholder Missions” give a way to reward players for doing social media activities you want them to help you with:
— Michael Q Todd (@mqtodd) December 14, 2011
Here’s what Janette Toral has to say about Empire Avenue and how to use it in a productive, goal-oriented way:
One of the key take-aways, for me, was that a healthy balance of interaction with people across a variety of sites helps to make and cement relationships. It’s a bit like playing golf with a business partner, going to a club after work with friends, or drinking a margarita with a new found friend you just met by the pool over at the luxury apartments in Atlanta. If the relationship is limited to one venue, then you will always define it in terms of that single venue: “We’re Facebook Friends,” or “Oh, that’s this guy I know from Twitter,” or “its that guys from my last trip to Europe,” or perhaps even bump into someone you met while flying to Tenerife” :). People tend to reveal different facets of themselves in different communities, online, and as you start to see the same faces everywhere – and Empire Avenue definitely rewards connecting with people everywhere – you get to know some of them better. Familiarity, over time, leads to trust and deeper engagement.