How and why I became tradeable

Just in case you haven’t caught up with the Empire Avenue phenomenon and don’t know what it is or does, here is the self-description from the site:

Empire Avenue is the Social Media Exchange, where you can invest in any social media profile by buying their shares, meet new people, unlock Achievement badges, and earn boatloads of virtual cash by being active and social online! Buy shares in your friends, your followers, people with similar interests, brands you love, celebrities – anyone! All using a virtual currency and all for free!

Empire Avenue - The Social Exchange
With hindsight, there was a good chance that I could have ignored the email invitation to join, which arrived a few days ago from my friend Shawn Honnick.

The fact that I gave the matter some further consideration was influenced by the fact that, a day or two before, I had watched part of a video by Chris Pirillo, Why You Should Join Empire Avenue – a Social Media Exchange demonstrating how Empire Avenue works and how he was participating. I didn’t get back to watching the video right through and at that point it did seem like a rather frivolous game of buying and selling shares in friends and others, using an in-platform currency curiously named Eaves.

I was intrigued by the fact that Chris Pirillo was so active on the platform, but at that point it didn’t quite seem like my thing.

But after receiving Shawn’s email I asked myself whether or not I should I try it out, at least so that I would know how it worked? After all, I’ve often signed up for new social media platforms on the basis that it was easier to see for myself than just read about them. Twitter in 2007 for instance. LinkedIn in, what, 2004?

That was then. For quite a while now I’ve not been driven to check out bright new shiny social media platforms.  Even if I were to restrict myself to the ones which seemed to offer some business utility, there are just so many, and as it’s not my core business to test social media applications, I have been seriously limiting my experimentation.

What made the difference with Empire Avenue was that a quick check on Google showed that, besides Shawn Honnick and Chris Pirillo, a number of other social media leaders for whom I have great respect were using Empire Avenue and what they were saying about it intrigued me.

Especially, in reading some of the discussion on Quora and in blogs I was intrigued especially about comments on what Empire Academy might be bringing to the field of the measurement of influence, a topic which really got my attention recently through taking the Social Media Strategist course with the Social Media Academy.

So finally I took the plunge and opened an account with Empire Avenue.

People have commented adversely about the UI

It was all a bit bewildering at first. I began to understand why some people commenting on Empire Avenue had remarked on the need for a better, more easily navigable user interface.

What was this? People were buying shares in me already!

While I was still stumbling around to find out how it all worked, I noticed that, among others, Chris Pirillo himself had bought a whole batch of shares in me. Then some more people who had evidently made a judgment that my shares might increase in value – as I’m happy to say so far has been the case.

It’s not just about buying and selling

As well as the whole trading aspect there are communities – of location and of interest. There is a limit of two city communities available at no cost. I could buy more, with Eaves or a combination of Eaves and US dollars. So far I’ve joined the rather small local community for the Gold Coast, Australia, where I live, and the much larger one for San Francisco, one of my very favorite cities in the world and where I have quite a few friends and colleagues.

On the communities of interest side I’ve joined the Social Media Community and, with only one more available free of cost, I am holding off joining another until I know my way around a bit better.

I’ve already met some quite interesting new people, both those who have been perspicacious enough to invest in me (that’s a joke – if I use a smiley it will throw this whole line out and I couldn’t resist the quip) and those I’m meeting in the EA communities.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, I’ll share some fruits of my online research, some interesting discussions and helpful blog posts.

In the meantime, if you are on Empire Ave, my ticker symbol is DESWALSH – right now it is moving, although not with a bullet (yet!).

If you are not yet there and intrigued enough to want to try it, you can use this link as an invitation, or answer one of those email invitations from your friends (both inviter and invitee benefit with some bonus Eaves). Or you can join directly and forego the bonus. (Update: someone said the link for my invitation – in the text – was not clear, so here it is “in the open”

Ticker symbols for people mentioned here: Shawn Honnick SHAWNBLOG, Chris Pirillo PIRILLO

I’d love for you to share any experiences you have with Empire Avenue or opinions for or against.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).