I’m Moving to Empire Avenue!

This likely won’t come as a shock to many of you; I’ve been invited to go work on Empire Aven­ue.

Of course, I said yes.

Start­ing Thursday, Septem­ber 1st, my role will be, as with any star­tup, kinda fuzzy to begin with. Offi­cially I’ll be the Dir­ect­or of Social and Com­munity Man­age­ment. In real­ity, I’ll be blog­ging, work­ing with the vari­ous com­munit­ies, and help­ing the team get things done. Whatever those things may be. Clean up after the Squir­rel, you know.

What I’m leav­ing behind
For the last five years, I’ve been a Web Con­tent Spe­cial­ist and Web Busi­ness Ana­lyst with the Alberta Motor Asso­ci­ation.

It’s be a great time with a mar­velous people and a great employ­er who’s allowed me to make mis­takes, grow, and test the cor­por­ate waters with innov­at­ive social media exper­i­ments (hello @AMARoadReports)!

If you’d like to check out the pos­i­tion I’m leav­ing, here’s the link to the offi­cial post­ing. And I’d be happy to dis­cuss the role, or the organ­iz­a­tion should you have any ques­tions — email me (bradblog@gmail.com).

The Future
Well, as I said, it’s going to be kinda fuzzy. Empire Aven­ue is a star­tup, and as such, there are lots of cool things that we’re doing, and that can be done! And in my work with com­munity, I’m going to be work­ing with and ask­ing a lot of ques­tions of *you*.

So, what can we do, togeth­er, on ‘the Aven­ue’, hmmm? Let’s find out!

Brown paper packages tied up with string…

If you fol­low my Twit­ter stream you know that I’m help­ing some friends out with a very cool Social Media pro­ject called Empire Aven­ue.  We’ve got­ten a little bit of press about it lately, most not­ably this art­icle on Mash­able. I’ve not talked about Empire Aven­ue a lot on my blog as I wasn’t really pre­pared — lots of oth­er stuff going on, etc. But now is the time..

In the last few months, I’ve noticed a few things about the Empire Aven­ue world that have really impressed me. Allow me a few moments to wax poet­ic on a few of those things.

In the latest devel­op­ment release, cod­named ‘Cork’, Empire Aven­ue gained Com­munit­ies — places where you can hang your hat and focus your influ­ence devel­op­ment.
For me the key word is Focus. Unlike Face­book or oth­er sites where com­munity par­ti­cip­a­tion has few con­sequences, an Empire Aven­ue Com­munity forces you to focus, because;

  • You are lim­ited in the num­ber of Com­munit­ies you join — which should provide more real value to all mem­bers, unlike oth­er com­munit­ies where you just join-up to express sup­port. An Empire Aven­ue Com­munity with an act­ive group of mem­bers can be an excit­ing place with rel­ev­ant dis­cus­sion and con­tent.
  • Your Influ­en­cer activ­ity and value bene­fits the Com­munity
  • Addi­tion­al dividends are gen­er­ated for the Com­munity based on your activ­ity

I love the new design. The tabbed inter­faces, page zones, and over­all look and feel not only appeal to my designy-side, they are also hugely func­tion­al for me. I can’t wait to see what the design­ers come up with for mobile devices 😉

Blog­ger Posts
Now this is really neat. Over the evol­u­tion of the beta, many par­ti­cip­at­ing Influ­en­cers have cre­ated their own blogs to sup­port their activ­ity. Not simply a blog post, they’ve star­ted up new blogs ded­ic­ated to Empire Aven­ue. Here’s an incom­plete list of what I’ve seen so far.

In the near future, if you’ve got an Empire Aven­ue focused blog, you’ll be able to register it with Empire Aven­ue, and we’ll keep a mas­ter list. It’s not live yet, but we’re wor­kin’ on it.

Devel­op­ment Team

Sure, it’s easy to say ‘These are the best guys I’ve ever worked with’. It’s also easy to say that this whole team is the best team I’ve worked with. Because it’s true. They’re chal­len­ging, enter­tain­ing, enjoy what they’re doing, and are hoopy froods that really know where their tow­el is. Engage them on Twit­ter, buy them a beer, and maybe they’ll tell you stor­ies…

The Mar­ket Makers
We’ve got a team of Mar­ket Makers — soft­ware entit­ies with per­son­al­it­ies that work in the back­ground — that ana­lyze Influ­en­cer online activ­ity and a num­ber of oth­er *secret factors* to arrive at an Influ­ence Value. These Mar­ket Makers all have dis­tinct per­son­al­it­ies and char­ac­ter­ist­ics that come into play at vari­ous times, yet all seem to be doing quite well in help­ing to estab­lish Influ­ence Value; which is also determ­ined by mar­ket trad­ing activ­ity.

So there you have it. Five of my  ‘Favour­ite Things’ about Empire Aven­ue. As I’ve said, we’re still in beta, and we do have many more things to fin­ish before we open it up to the world.

If you’re not in the Beta and are inter­ested in join­ing it, ping me on Twit­ter, I’ll see what I can do 🙂

If you’re in the beta and have some thoughts on your Favour­ite Things, then please, by all means, leave them in the com­ments below.

Getting a handle on influence and online content creation

As you may be aware, espe­cially if you’ve been blas­ted by my twit­ter stream recently, I’m help­ing some friends out with the Empire Aven­ue beta. I’ve writ­ten before about Social Media and the Power of Influ­ence, but today I’m going to talk about a few things I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

A few things about Empire Aven­ue:

  • Empire Aven­ue is about your online Value and your online Influ­ence
  • Empire Avenue’s The People’s Mar­ket is a fantasy stock mar­ket where the com­mod­ity being traded is your Influ­ence.
  • You can buy, sell, trade vir­tu­al shares in any­one on the site and rate the value of their per­son­al online brand.

Why I’m into it
For me, it’s about under­stand­ing my value to you, my loy­al min­ions friends and read­ers. There are many mod­els out there for rank­ing reach, breadth, pop­ular­ity and power of your blog, or Twit­ter stream. But there’s really noth­ing that takes the next step and helps you under­stand your online value to your read­ers, no mat­ter the medi­um be it Flickr, Face­book, Twit­ter, etc.

Value in Empire Aven­ue is determ­ined a num­ber of ways, and that’ll likely be cause for spec­u­la­tion as we move through the beta peri­ods and into full launch later this sum­mer. I believe the details of Empire Aven­ue algorithms will remain secret, much the same way that Google keeps their search algorithms under tight wraps.

How it helps me
Empire Aven­ue, as I’m begin­ning to under­stand through use, is show­ing me through activ­ity on my ‘stock’ what mem­bers of the Beta think of my con­tent, and of me as a con­tent gen­er­at­or.

Sure, many be spec­u­lat­ing or guess­ing. They’re not really read­ing my posts and under­stand­ing my value, tail­rid­ing on the activ­ity of oth­ers. That’s fine too, espe­cially since we’re in such a small-sample beta right now.

But, when we start open­ing the beta up, allow­ing friends to bring their friends into the mix, these tail­riders may be in for a sur­prise as ‘pop­ular­ity’ may not be as admir­able trait in the mar­ket­place.

I don’t know, but I’m look­ing for­ward to see how things shake out.

Social media and the power of influence

If you’ve been fol­low­ing me or this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge social media fan — it just seems like the right medi­um that makes online com­mu­nic­a­tion easi­er. But one subtle aspect of social media is that it’s a very slick con­duit for word of mouth mar­ket­ing, pro­mo­tion, and advert­ising — which is why spam­mers jumped in with both feet quite early on; they real­ized the power of this medi­um.

Recently I’ve helped some friends out with a tech. pro­ject that really has a bit of poten­tial. It has noth­ing to do with spam, and a lot to do with influ­ence. You’ve seen me tweet about it and know it as Empire Aven­ue. Yes, there’s a link, click it and see what we’re doing. Then come back here when you’re done — I’ll wait.

Ah, back now? Excel­lent. Until we launch I’m not able to talk about too many details, so please for­give the high­er-than-nor­mal vague­ness factor, but I will sally onward with this post.

On the site you’ve seen ref­er­enced things like ‘The People’s Mar­ket’. And Pants. Per­haps influ­ence too…

But the really cool part of that page is when you click the blog link at the top and sub­sequently read the latest on our ‘pro­ject’.

And the really cool part (oh, wait, I said that already). The OTHER really cool part is that we’re launch­ing a beta. Yes, I know every Inter­net star­tup since Google has a beta; but folk seem to like them and they do give us valu­able feed­back, so yeah, we’ve got one too.

So, yep, we’re hav­ing a beta and look­ing for a few good folk inter­ested in social media and the power of influ­ence. And since you’re actu­ally doing a bit of work for us, help­ing us test out this mon­ster and all, we’re giv­ing a little back:

Enter your email for early access to the beta and an exclus­ive Achieve­ment that will nev­er be avail­able to any­one in the world or the uni­verse ever again.

What’s an achieve­ment? That’s a ques­tion for later, but the ques­tion for now is; do you want in? If so, drop us a line at beta@empireavenue.com. We’ve got lim­ited spots ini­tially, but we’ll add your name to the list and roll them out as we can.

And yes, we do expect people will write about the beta, that’s fine. And we encour­age it, so if you have a blog, let us know — we’ll try and get you in earli­er 😉