Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Home on The Avenue

I came to a realization, about a month or so ago, that when I speak of Empire Avenue, I speak with passion. Not the irate ranting I do about Facebook, but with enthusiasm and zeal.

I was at a party, and we were talking about social media, and I started talking about Empire Avenue. Halfway through the conversation he looked at me and said, “You talk about this place like I should have heard about it.” He was right, I do. It is really as much a part of my online life now as Facebook and Twitter are, if not more.

It got me thinking, why do I love Empire Avenue so much? I have gone off on these Empire Ave loverants a few times now. It always comes down to the same few points.
Empire Avenue is basically the hub of social media. It connects users’ social media in a way that actually becomes useful. We see their tweets, blogs, websites, Facebook, really anything we would want to know, and they are able to do this while not sacrificing anyone’s privacy.

They don’t ask us who our boyfriend is, how old we are, our address and cell phone etc.  People can’t even see our Facebook updates if they are not already a Facebook friend. It lets ME decide what people know about me and what they see.

Because we don’t have to worry about who sees our profile and our information, we can actually go put our face out there and mingle. You don’t get that “Ugh, who is THIS person?” feeling you get when someone random tries to friend you on Facebook.

People say hi by buying shares in you. Buying shares in someone makes them already like you a little bit and you don’t have that whole awkward stalky thing going. It opens up a way to engage that person and say “Hello, how are you?” and go from there.

You can check out what interests those people and see if they are someone you would connect with, if they put out content you would enjoy. Maybe they should be connecting with someone else you have met. The networking possibilities are endless.

As a company, being able to connect with consumers on a real, human level is great for business and for brand awareness. It gives your company a chance to have a personality. It increase blog views, website views, people connecting you to other people you should meet. The alternative is trying to get people to follow you in twitter without being spammy, or getting people to like you on Facebook. Empire Ave, when used in a proper, engaging way puts a lot more power into your hands.

The game element of Empire Avenue accentuates the networking aspect of the game in a fun, and sometimes frustrating way. It keeps players engaged, gives a way to say hello, and bring more people onto the site. On the flip side, it is a stock game, which some people find a little overwhelming, although that usually goes away once they start finding their way around. There is also share price race that seems to turn a lot of people off.
Those people should really be looking more at the possibilities of the Avenue and not so much on what they are ‘worth’.

 The user base has grown exponentially since I have joined. I am not sure how many new people are interacting with Tom, Dups, Brad, Aaron et al, but when you do talk to them, what you see while talking to them about Empire Avenue is a passion for what they do. They are so excited by this, enthusiastic about their vision. You really can’t help but buy into their vision. The support they give us whether through feedback, Twitter, Facebook or email is amazing. When there is an issue, they fix it. It may not be right away, there is only so much they can do with the man power they have, but they are on it, and they let you know they are on it. I have yet to have an issue and have a message ignored by them.

I can’t say this about any other developers I have dealt with. I may not need to use the real money options when they are available, but I will. I enjoy my time here and what they have made that I am more than willing to send them a few dollars. Buying upgrades with real cash does not seem to be a game ender to me, I have seen those posts and I am not buying it.

I have been here for about 2 months now, and other than getting annoyed at a few users, it has really been a fabulous experience. Everyone has different goals, but for me, Empire Avenue has far exceeded anything I expected from it. What are your goals being here? Playing a game? Meeting people and businesses? Figuring out how to improve your social media engagement? Once you play around on the Avenue for a while, and it clicks, it really is a great place to be. Even if you have to dodge the odd landmine. J

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