Empire Avenue is a new, worldwide social network that I joined about two weeks ago. At first glance, it looks like a stock market. It kind of is. But, the stock is in you and the work that you do. I’m going to highlight the things I like best about it, but there really is a lot about this site that I don’t have the space to go over– and will make more sense as you dig in and try it out.
Empire Avenue is very networking-centric, so it works best for those who are driven to connect with new people on about professional or personal hobbies or topics. This is not another site to share what you had for breakfast.
You may already know that I have lots of social media profiles; I have a personal and a business facebook & the same situation on twitter as well as blogs for each, plus Flickr and LinkedIn– in fact, you might think that the last thing I need is yet another social media profile!
But Empire Avenue is a great combination of analytics, professional and social networking– and it feels like a game. So, I keep coming back every day to check my stock price and invest in people who invest in me- if they’re a good fit for my “portfolio”.
From the analytic perspective, Empire Avenue provides a numeric representation of how I’m performing on each of my social media profiles. Without EA, it may occur to me that I haven’t tweeted lately on my professional Twitter account, but it’s not IN MY FACE every day if I don’t do it. Using EA, it’s easy for me to identify what I’m neglecting and it gives me a measure of improvement. There’s a dashboard when I log in on my profile as well as lots of charts and graphs to assist me with my contributions to each platform. Improving these scores means my stock price goes up, as does having others invest in me.
In fact, networking has been the most fun for me. Empire Avenue makes networking with people in any geographic area who share professional or personal interests easy and fun. Finding new people to invest in feels like a game. Adding them to your portfolio is essentially choosing who you want to be part of your network, and I choose wisely. You can seek them out through searches, though it also recommends individuals based on your interests and network, or you can join communities that make networking even easier. The more you interact, the more your score EA improves. EA aggregates your posts and publishes links to them in your profile stream, so when people review your posts, they nearly always go to the original sites, and they don’t store content (such as photos, etc) on their site, so you don’t have to have concerns about privacy such as those that have recently come up with Facebook, Google+, Twitpic and the like.
There are achievements you can earn, including improving the status within your chosen index (you begin as an “employee” and progress through the ranks up to “President”).
Yes, it’s another social network and it does require more work. But, I believe that this network gives back so much– not only does it provide great networking opportunities (with lots of other early adopters in the US and around the world), but it provides analytics about the other networks that you’re active on. Sure, you could find that information within each network, but this puts it all in one place.
I will still use LinkedIn for professional networking, but Empire Avenue really is a great mix of professional and personal networking and the charts and graphs I might easily pay for elsewhere. LinkedIn puts some borders on networking outside of your existing circle, and Empire Avenue encourages you to explore everywhere.