June 7, 2011

Introducing Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue logoIf you have ever tried to describe the value of Facebook or Twitter to someone who is completely unfamiliar with them, you know it is not easy. And yet, my task for this post - explaining EmpireAvenue - is far more difficult. My goal for this post is to give you a general idea of EmpireAvenue (EAv) and explain what I like about it. I will address the question of whether EAv might be a useful way to promote your atheist blog or website in a later post, as I need a bit more time to evaluate it for that purpose.

What is EmpireAvenue? 

EAv is part social media aggregator, part social media network, and part game.

When someone joins EAv, they complete a profile (much like what you see on Twitter) and link their accounts from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, and any blogs they may have. Each user's profile will then display an integrated feed from all these sources not unlike what you might see in FriendFeed. by visiting someone's profile, I could see all their activity across all these sources in one place. This is what I mean when I describe EAv as a social media aggregator.

EAv is also a social media network much like Facebook. Users can interact with each other right in EAv, and these interactions are added to the profile streams I described above. Their are communities to join (including one called "Atheists United"), chat rooms, and the opportunity to post "shouts" (like tweets) on other users' profiles.

The truly addictive part of EAv and what makes it so much fun is the game aspect. If you ever used BlogShares, you already have some idea of how EAv works. When you sign up, you receive some virtual (i.e., fake) currency called "eaves." You use it to invest in other users, buying and selling shares like a stock market. Your share price fluctuates based on how many people are buying and selling you. In addition to your share price, you have a dividend value that is based on your overall activity across all the linked social media networks. This means that if you are very active on Twitter, etc., your dividend value will go up. And this means that your shareholders will earn more from holding your shares. In essence, you are rewarded by being active.

That Sounds Confusing

Yep. EAv is a bit overwhelming at first. Aside from buying low and selling high, it isn't immediately clear how you should invest. In fact, there seem to be a handful of investment strategies that will pay off. But I've already learned quite a bit after being involved for only a short time. And most of all, I've had fun figuring it out.

As I mentioned at the outset, I have not been using EAv for long enough yet to give you a verdict on whether it will be a useful means of promoting your atheist blog or website. I have learned that there are many other atheists using it, and I have discovered some interesting atheist blogs I wouldn't have otherwise found. But in terms of finding out whether my EAv activity has resulted in additional traffic to my blog, it is still too early to tell. I'll write that post as soon as I have enough data.