Are you a moth to the latest must-try social media flame? An early adopter always looking to push the envelope, try new things? Or actually easily distracted, trialling the latest new thing instead of focusing on the challenging things you need to do?
There have been a number of new, and not so new social media news stories in recent weeks (if you don’t believe me, sign up to Techcrunch), but the one that has filled my Twitter stream the most is Empire Avenue.
Empire Avenue is essentially on online game that works on the basis of trading stocks and shares in yourself or your brand, the value of which is based on your social media activity. Therefore, the more you do the more you are potentially worth. As people invest you, and you pass / unlock certain aspects, your stock rises as does your ability to invest. All in fictitious online currency though, not real world cash – yet.
As a b2b marketer, I’ve watched as location based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places, have slowly began to monetize their audiences with time-sensitive deals. Buying sites like Groupon have also contributed to the phenomenon of securing big savings on retail products and services. Retail and leisure b2c sectors are seeing benefits but an effect on my clients and their customers is still some way off.
I’m watching people get utterly sucked into some of these emerging platforms and I’m left wondering if it is affecting their business. Do I think that someone who runs Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts, creates blogs and other content to drive inquiry, uses Foursquare, and digests/shares and comments on lots of other content, has time to deliver in their role, letalone play online games like Empire Avenue? No.
I accept that there is something for everyone. But will Empire Avenue get you hired? No. Will Empire Avenue differentiate your business from a competitor? Doubtful. Will you be engaging with the same people you bump into as you journey the web? Probably. Will Empire Avenue have a tangible effect on your business? Unlikely.
Save some tenuous value figure I might apply to my social media work, and an inordinate amount of additional email in my inbox, Empire Avenue isn’t helping me.
And doesn’t that defeat the object? If new digital platforms hinder and confuse rather than help, what function do they serve other than to distract?
Image: Empire Avenue masthead