Last year, I heard of this little site called Empire Avenue. I think BitRebels brought it up to my attention. And I tried to get all my friends and colleagues to join, I even invited my friends from Twitter. The responses were dismal, "why?" "WTF? I don't want to buy 'people'" or "that seems like a huge waste of time". My response was simple, you should join because it is "the next big thing." Some did, most didn't.
William Pitcher even asked me if I thought the potential for EA was really there, I told him, yes. Bigger than FB and Twitter? he asked. I told him... "maybe."
I don't think it will ever be as big as FB or Twitter, or even Linked in. These three are the Three Kings of Social Networks, as I call them, and the reason Empire Avenue will never be as big as any of them, is because EAv actually depends on those sites for its services.
You see, EmpireAvenue is one of many attempts --albeit, one of the successful ones-- at measuring influence online. How much is your content worth? I think that is the real question that gets answered by the site.
The site works in two ways, depending on your opinion of it. One popular view is that it's just a game; the other view, MY preffered view is that it is a super powerful networking and filtering tool. I take it a little more seriously than most, but then again I take a lot of the things I do online more seriously than most people do. After all, I've been making my living with online resources, since 1999.
EA gives you a handle, or rather you pick it, and this becomes your "Stock Ticker" akin to a corporation's stock ticker in the NYSE. After you join, they'll give you a number of Eaves to start with (their own fictitious currency). Mine is (e)OG. You can change it anytime you want... for a price.
Once you start and join, the rest is up to you, you can buy into other people you find interesting, amusing, or simply when you want to show support for their cause. Other people engage in what they call "reciprocity" and I call bullshit. Pardon my french but I stand by my post in reciprocity.
Reciprocity is good only if its genuine, otherwise its just a cheap way to game the system, whatever system that is.
With that mini rant/intro I'll try to get back to the original title of the post. Have we reached a tipping point for EmpireAvenue to become mainstream? And I mean mainstream, only in the circle of social media enthusiasts. For if you really think about it and look up some numbers, Twitter is not really "mainstream" yet, most people (despite what you believe) are NOT on twitter.
Don't believe me? Ask 3 of your neighbors what their twitter handle is? Ask your Tax person who they "follow" on Twitter? Ask your doctor where you can follow his updates... I'd venture to guess that 8 out of 10 people will simply give you a googley-eyed look and wonder WTF are you talking about.
Certainly EA has gone through a tremendous explosion over the past few months. Some big names in the tech world, social networking arena and other fields have joined. And I wonder, why haven't others? Is it really a waste of time like many people say? I don't think so (more on that later).
You can now find people like Chris Pirillo, Darren Rowse, even big name brands like Ford and ATT. But aside from those two brands, do you even know who the other people are? I happen to know of Chris from years back because he's *been* there from the get go, in the tech industry. As I was learning systems administration and computer support for Windows in the early days of my career, his posts would often come up with solutions to various problems. As for Darren, he is one of, if not *the* most popular blogger in the planet when it comes to monetizing the whole blogging thing. He makes millions blogging.
I would be curious if all the people I invited in the early days are still hesitant to join, do they still think this is a time waster? Do you think that way? I can tell you that I've enjoyed the site quite a bit. People wonder what "business" value I've gotten from it, and I can't pinpoint it, but I've gotten some true value. I'll give you a couple examples, I met Adriel Hampton on there, and eventually he reached out for some website help. He's a happy camper now and I thank him for approaching me for help, and I thank EA for creating this space where I met him. I also humbly help moderate the WordPress group *in* Empire Avenue, where people ask random wordpress related questions. This group gave me a connection to other wordpress professionals that I probably would never have met.
I love EmpireAvenue. Truly, I do.
I've met a few other people on the site and now follow them and interact with them on Twitter. I have found some amazing blogs to read that would probably never have come up in my normal circles of friends or searches.
But EA isn't mainstream, nor do I think it will ever be. I think by the time social networks are really mainstream, it will be something new, something different.
Thanks for reading this rant. And if you end up joining EmpireAvenue, let me know if I can help. After all, helping is what I do.