Is it time to start asking….”buy me”?

I guess it was bound to happen…eventually someone was going to create a way to measure our worthiness in the world of social media. Congratulations to the guys at Empire Avenue for finding an engaging, fun way for us to measure ourselves. Judging by the tweets filling up my timeline lately, the game is a hit.

If you’re not familiar, Empire Avenue is a stock-market style platform where users “buy” and “sell” shares in each other with the prices for each set to some extent by the quality of their social media reach. If you want to play, you have to tie your Empire Avenue account to your other social accounts…namely Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc…and let yourself be “measured” in terms of how engaged you really are with your social sphere. The more effective you are, the more your “value” in the Empire Avenue arena can rise.

This aspect of the game is interesting, because it (hopefully) makes users think about whether they are just posting for the sake of posting something, or whether they are really building any social capital amongst their peers. Anything that can make our social media interactions more of a dialogue and less of a bullhorn are just fine with me.

Beyond the measurement, however, you can also increase your value in EA by being in high demand. Just like other in equity markets, as the demand increases price moves too. Now since price is relative in the game (you don’t use real currency, rather you use new medium of exchange called “eaves”) the easiest way to increase demand in yourself is to build relationships right inside the network. Get to know people on Empire Avenue, convince them of your worth and see your stock price rise. You can even buy advertising inside the game promoting yourself on a pay-per-click basis. While I am just a novice, from what I hear the networking inside Empire Avenue is pretty intense – and some would say more interesting because the casual social media user is not hanging around.

So is this just a post about a game? Who really cares? Well, even if we ignore C.J. Arlotta’s April post suggesting that 40% of Facebook users are also playing social games with Zynga (the make of Farmville) we have to consider who esle is using Empire Avenue – Brands. As of this writing Empire Avenue is spotlighting several brands, including Intel, Rackspace and AT&T and May 24th guest post notes that Ford Motor and Toyota Motor are playing along too. Much like SecondLife stayed popular for longer than necessary because of brand support, Empire Avenue may not be the simple flash-in-the-pan we consider if it gets the backing of some key Madison Avenue types.

So could we start asking for “buyers” instead of “followers”? Talk about pressure. I guess I had better go get my value up quickly.

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