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.

Com­munity
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

Design
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.