Empire Avenue: The timesuck that capitalizes on your social media empire

You are a Twitter addict.  You maintain multiple blogs, connect with friends and classmates on Facebook, are never far from your iPhone to check in to Foursquare and are a frequent reviewer on Yelp.  In short, you are a social networking junkie.

In that case, probably you don’t need to read this post, because probably you saw it last week when @Mashable covered how to buy and sell shares of you and your friends.  But, in case you missed it, Empire Avenue is for you.

Empire Avenue is a game in which you can turn your social media capital (Twitter following, blogs, Facebook friends, every RSS feed you can lay claim to) into virtual currency and buy shares in other people.  It’s incredibly addictive — it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are always enough people on at any given moment that there’s always something happening in near-real time.  The real-time updates and constant activity make it very tempting to keep hitting the F5 button on your browser and never leave the site.   The goal — if there is one — is to amass wealth through expanding your portfolio of other people while building up your own personal share value as much as possible.  The more active you are in social media, the more value you have, and the more people may be encouraged to invest in you.

It gets interesting when you consider that you can sign up as a website rather than an individual.  This can then be used to add value to your brand — even if it is virtual value.  Having played the game over the weekend, already I’ve had people looking at our [ap] site that would never have found us otherwise.  Even more intrigue is added when you start getting your friends involved.  I started out with 3 invites after receiving my own: who do I give them to?  Ideally, the people to give invites to are people already social media addicted; the types that would be most likely to increase in value very quickly.  When you actually know the people involved, you can then anticipate the direction their shares might take by knowing what type of person they are or how they might use social media.  I have a former co-worker from whom I constantly see Facebook updates from various Facebook games;  knowing how much time he devotes to his mafia, farm or whatever the latest Facebook meme happens to be, I spent one of my three invites on him.  I was still surprised when, only hours later, I got an in-game notification that he had created an account.  I used my knowledge of his gaming habits to become his first investor, purchasing 100 shares of his stock, PHTPNG.  You can insert your own experiences here — the point is, it becomes sort of like an augmented reality game in which you can use your anecdotal evidence and knowledge of your friends and connections as insider information if they join the game.  As such, it’s easy to see this thing taking off like mad.  In the future, there will be businesses, real advertising and potential to earn actual dollars.

Empire Avenue is currently in beta, but you can request an invitation.  If they aren’t handing invites out at the moment, follow @ArcanePalette on Twitter and see if we have any invites via @reply and, if so, I’ll send one your way.

Random Album Cover – the Creative Commons Way

i’ve been waiting for someone to tag me on that 25 things meme, mostly because it’s come across a couple of the blogs i read, but i guess i either have no friends or everyone knows everything there is to know about me.  either way poor, poor, pitiful me.  anyway, i’m getting my revenge by having the most bad.ass. random album cover, and it’s inspired me to up the ante on this whole thing…



To Do This

1 – Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to Quotations Page and select “random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Grab the photo randomly generated from Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr here:http://mikelietz.org/code/flickr-ccgettr.php

4 – Use Paint.Net or Gimp or similar to put it all together.


this all started because i got the most awesome band name, and it only got better from there:

my random quote was
When you relinquish the desire to control your future, you can have more happiness.
Nicole Kidmanin The Scotsman 

and my random photo was
http://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3304450435/
by /meaghan préfontaine 

here’s the result:

gwoździec - more happiness

i am so happy about this result that i’ve decided this album needs to be made.  so to go along with the spirit of random and creative commons, i’m trying to devise a system by which one could create an entire album in the same vein as the album cover thing.

– so, the first step is to decide how many tracks are on the album.  i’m not sure of a cc way to do this, my idea is to go to amazon.com (there’s gotta be a random  page thing?) or possibly a better idea is go to discogs.com.  there’s no random album thing there, but i did a search for my album title and i think the answer is to pick the first full-length release you come to (my first 3 search results were singles).  that is, unless you just want to do a single/ep, which, i suppose, could be an acceptable entry.  so my first full length result is this:
my album will have 11 tracks (i guess an even easier way is to roll a d12…)

now you need songs.  you can cheat and just do a compilation based on full-length creative commons tracks, but…that would be cheating.  a better idea is to scour freesound.org or some other such sound archive and create your own songs based on what you get.  most of these are fragments so they will require software and time and inspiration and some amount of musical talent (but in these days of GarageBand and song mashups, not really all that much musical talent).  freesound does have a random sample search, so i think the method is get as many samples as you need to compose music that is entirely created with cc’d samples.   there’s a couple other places to get sounds that you can find on the creative commons site, freesound is just what i used for the rpm project.

last, anyone who actually completes this, let me know and put me in the liner notes or send me a copy or something.  you can expect gwozdziec’s debut to be coming in the next couple months.

note: i have no idea how to even pronounce gwozdziec, that’s part of what makes it so awesome.