The socialmediarati have a new favorite toy — one that tells you how valuable your friends are. Empire Avenue is a virtual stock market of social media personalities. Think Klout or PeerIndex, but gamified with a Wall Street twist. Upon registering, you become both a “stock” (replete with personal ticker symbol) and a market participant. Your share value is determined by your social networking activity, your Empire Avenue activity, and the trading activity on your stock. Despite the hype, however, Empire Avenue doesn’t quite work as an influence metric for three reasons:
- Your “value” is mostly artificial.
Once you have connected your external social networks to your account and established yourself on the site, most of your value comes from what happens within the world of Empire Avenue itself. Like real stock, your share price is greatly affected by trading activity. Site participation is also important; if you become inactive on Empire Avenue, your stock price drops. You can even pay real cash for in-game advantages on the site, which can help boost your value. It’s all part of Empire Avenue’s gamification aspect, but that doesn’t change the fact that applying ANY internal activity to one’s metrics skews them artificially.
- Empire Avenue emphasizes quantity over quality.
The site seems to place an undue amount of value on social media activity; influence and amplification play a role, but how many “actions” one performs seems to be more important.
Case in point: Right after I deleted a superfluous Tweet, my Empire Avenue stock ((e)JSQ) price dropped about 0.20 “eaves” — Empire Avenue’s virtual currency (“E. Ave” — get it?). Meanwhile, a stock in my portfolio had a one-day gain of more than 15.00e simply because that person posted seven blog posts that day.
- Empire Avenue offers little in the way of analytics.
You can pay eaves to unlock analytics for your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr profiles. Unfortunately, these analytics are little more than what you can find out yourself just by looking at the profiles. If you’re posting so much content weekly that you can’t possibly keep track of it all, these analytics might offer some valuable insights — but otherwise, it’s not rocket science to figure out how many followers you have, or what your most “Liked” status update of the week is.