Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Empire Avenue (The Game)

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I've been on Empire Avenue for a bit over a week now. Here are some early impressions.

Empire Avenue is one part game, one part social network and one part social network influence ranking. I'm still going back and forth as to whether this is a brilliant or misguided approach. This time out I'm going to talk a bit about the game aspect of the site

The game portion of the site is based on the concept that you can use virtual currency to buy and sell stock in the social networking engagement of people and companies. You make "money" by selling this stock or collecting dividends that are based on that person or companies activities on the various social networking sites that Empire Avenue ranks. Currently this is Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, FlikR and Empire Avenue itself. Here's my up to the minute price.

Prices start at ten "Eaves" and go up or down from there based on how much of your stock is being bought or sold and how active you are. As of this writing I'm doing well but from what I can tell it's fairly hard to reach the elite ranks if you don't want to devote your entire life to an obsessive pursuit of posting, commenting, page views and random social drive-by's.

The game itself is kind of fun and useful if it encourages good social networking interactions. It also has the potential to amplify peoples inner narcissist. This isn't unique to Empire Avenue of course. Narcissism is the dark underbelly of any site that deals with social networking.

A lot of my stock sold when I initially signed up because I was cheap and reasonably active. I also made an effort to publicize myself. My sales fell off steadily as I progressed through the first week. I'm not entirely sure why this happened but I suspect it is a combination of my share price increasing, not being a mega contributor and a general desire by most players to get in on the ground floor rather than risking buying high and losing money.

Overall I've increased my social network engagement a bit over the past week plus because of the game. I'm trying very hard not to lower the quality of my contributions to increase the quantity. I think I'm doing an OK job but am going to continue to monitor that closely. I'm in this for the long haul. I've had a nice steady upward trend in page hits over the past several months and I don't want to jeopardize that for a game.

On the flip side, I really do love to read, learn and write which means I'm constantly generating content. I'm starting to think I need to add a couple more BLOG's. :-)

So, in summary the game is fun but arguably a bit dangerous in that it can encourage bad behavior. Empire Avenue has apparently been tweaking things over time to try to mitigate that but it's likely always going to be an issue. One place where this has a noticeable impact is on the social network portion of Empire Avenue. I'll talk more about that in a future entry.

Image via Wikipedia
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