Some of you may ask yourselves “What is Empire Avenue?” And the answer would be rather simple if you like the internet tl;dr style: A virtual stock exchange game in which players buy and sell shares, interact with the community to build up reputation and strive for the highest share prices and dividends. However, with Empire Avenue (EAv) there is an added element which will make some people sit up and take notice: Your activity and your reputation is your social media interaction. Yes, whatever you are doing on Facebook, Twitter, G+, flickr and other social media channels will make your stats go boom or take a dive. Liking, commenting, plussing – all the average daily interaction you have come to appreciate in your life will be taken into account. And that is where all the fun starts and convinced me to play the game for 365 days straight now.
So what is this Empire Avenue thing all about?
When visiting the EAv website five major points are made:
- Link your social media accounts
- Be social. Collect Eaves and Vees
- Exchange Eaves and Vees.
- Get Free Social Scoring and Analytics.
- Be part of the community.
I’ll take those from top to bottom but will probably have to jump a little inbetween.
Linking your social media accounts / free social scoring and analytics
As of Nov 26th, 2013 the networks available for connection with EAv are:
Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Linkedin, Foursquare, Instagram, WordPress.com, G+ as well as blogs and RSS. The technology behind it isn’t that easy so not all of those connections offer the same access opportunities; it all depends on the APIs the different services provide. With all of those EAv offers scores on a scale from 1 to 100 (except for blogs and RSS, those do not receive the scoring treatment). Knowledgeable members from the EAv community have commented that the scoring does not necessarily mirror your activities on any given network (is your number of followers/ people in your circles/ interaction received most important) but that criticism is about the same level as people criticising Klout on its stats – it is a secret concoction which you may surely doubt but for a quick oversight into your activities it will serve you well. And it’s free, remember?
So basically you can see with one quick look: I’m very active on EAv itself, my Facebook profile is good, too, I am spending quite some time on Twitter and both my Instagram activity as well as my Facebook page (The Tolkienist) are doing okay. Now, there are players with scores in all of those networks close to 100 – but those really are social media whizzes and/or people who know how to play to the game
Doing ‘missions’ and collecting eaves and vs
Now, the fun part of the virtual social stock exchange is you can earn dividends by buying shares and have others buy you. You’re basically a ‘company’ listed at a stock exchange and your social media reputation (see the scores above) will get you ‘bought’. Up until now this was pretty straightforward (and I am not going to bore you with digits like [top 5000 players > 0.28 div/share]) because you a) bought other people = gets you virtual eaves and you did b) missions offered by others which = gets you virtual eaves. The range of those missions usually is determined by the network people would like to have ‘supported’, that is, if someone posted an interesting tweet you would retweet it and get, let’s say, 10,000e for it. Or you are asked to like and comment on a Facebook post – anything you could possibly imagine happening in any social media network would be up as a ‘mission.’
Strangely enough this ‘mission thing’ does work without it getting abused to the max – you might think, “well, I’ll just buy some of those eaves and ask people to become my Twitter followers” but that just doesn’t happen. Anything in real life can be rigged, I agree, and there is some nonsense stuff happening on EAv as well but because the community is rather close-knit and serious players are regularly debunking the worst of those attempts for the community to see you don’t get the worst. The internet still is the wild, wild west but with a game like EAv where community and sharing is the thing that gets you forward in the game good content and decent behaviour will help you be successful. Oh, and yes, there is kind of a ‘reputation’ system implemented by which you can ‘punish’ the stealers – if somebody doesn’t do the mission the way you would like him to then you can either mute and/or block him and you can give him a negative review. Think Amazon and/or Ebay – if you don’t have a majority of good reviews you won’t get bought and/or appreciated as seller.
P.S.: Eaves are the currency in use for all of this; Vs are coming up soon as the currency with which to exchange for ‘real life offers’ – those are still being determined as of the time of writing but I’d expect 2014 to be a good year for that
Okay, nice – but why should I play this?
Well, that’s a pretty good question. I’ll tell you why I am playing this and what I need it for. And then we’ll see whether this game is something for you, right?
You may have heard of my new blog project, TheTolkienist.com. Now, this is more than me just writing a couple of blog posts and enjoying myself – I want to enjoy myself and hope to become a blogger who can actually live off this particular project. I know I have the expertise to do this, I know thousands of people interested in this particular niche (Tolkien and modern fantasy literature in films in general) and I think with the right amount of great articles and interaction with fellow Tolkienists and fantasists I could get there. Because I have loved writing all of my life and this is what I am really good at – so why not make my hobby and my passion my profession?
So when I started my blog more than a year ago I was looking for a tool which would offer me stats and an insight into social media which would help me improve in both the writing and the sharing part of the game. Because today it is no longer (necessarily) essential to write really good stuff, you need to get heard to get your great content through. And if you don’t happen to be part of a multi-billion-dollar publishing company that is kind of difficult to do. The option open to freelancers and small businesses is working the social media for support – and that is what this game is all about. At least to me it is – you may use to other ends!
You get the opportunity of learning from some really, really knowledgeable people who live and breathe social media. You start learning about curating the best stuff which is out there, you learn writing great stuff yourself (or how to improve on it) and you get an idea of how the different social media channels work. And how you can get better at using them. If you are competitive (which is quite good when you’re also a gamer ), love social media and do like to spend some time on a demanding game – then EAv is the place to be.
If you are not active in social media, if you don’t have the staying power (you will probably have to spend 4-6 weeks of daily interaction to get ahead in the game, about 15-30 mins should do the trick; having friends on EAv will help you immensely, though!) and if you can’t take a challenge – well, there are tons of free browsergames out there waiting to happen.
Today is my first anniversary with EAv and I am here to stay. I have passed 250e in share price (which makes me about no. 700 worldwide), my daily earnings are close to 400K (ranking me about no. 500 worldwide), dividends I am paying out are close to the no. 700 worldwide (with my blog and work next year moving ahead swiftly this will change, indeed!) and my activity with EAv puts me at no. 77 right now out of a couple of thousands of accounts (and in Germany I am at no. 7 ) With all of this I will be able to use EAv not only as a tool for improving my knowledge and experience in social media but I will start using EAv for consulting volunteer-run organisations on their social media efforts and at the same time promote my blog.
Yes, as we say in EAv, I’ll be paying it forward. The community at EAv is out there to help you and if you start giving back to it those people won’t let you down. So if I have learned anything out of this it would be my knowledge and my expertise in Tolkien and social media might just help you to be more active and more successful with what you do. Let’s meet up at Empire Avenue (using this link will get you and me some extra eaves!) and have some Middle-earth fun [Announcement on TSMC coming up soon! Watch this space!]