Category Archives: Social Criticism

I thought Starter Pistols Fired Blanks!

Often when folks join Empire Avenue they have interesting expressions about how hard it is to get started.  Some have likened the beginning with EA to trying to drink from a fire hose.  A new player sold the shares of someone who had been helping him creating an unfortunate encounter with the more senior player.  Smarting from his wounds, the newbie told me he thought starter pistols fired blanks.  starter-pistol 

EA fortunately has  added tons of new information designed to help new players understand the rules of the avenue.  We even have very excellent videos that provide amazing assistance and an awesome new wiki.   I worry just a tiny bit that all this well intended information might contribute to the overload most new players experience.

Although it was a couple of years ago, I well remember my dazed and confused feelings about this wacky Empire.  To make matters worse for me, I barely knew how to spell Social Media.  In fact, one of my major goals in joining EA was to learn about the various social media platforms.  I sort of looked at EA as a sandbox where I could play with social media to figure it out.  As some of the marinated veterans encouraged me to join more, and more, and more and more networks…I wondered if signing up for social media networks could become a full time occupation.  Thank goodness for OAuth to ease a bit of that pain.  Trying to figure out the various networks and EA at the same time was daunting for someone of my limited skill.

I seem to have mostly survived.  I have some reasonable Social Media networks, and my EA stats are decent…particularly for someone who does this for grins & giggles.  Most important I have created some relationships that will be resources for my lifetime.  That is the insight I really want to share when I was thinking about starting EA.

EA players come from all over the world and with such a huge range of backgrounds, skills, experiences, goals, and intentions.  Accommodating this diversity is an awesome strength of EA. The strand that connects all of us in this social media game is that word social.  Everyone who participates in EA is looking for a social connection with other people.

I survived my bumbling start down Empire Avenue strictly on the kindness of strangers.  Folks who for no apparent reason reached out to me…not trying to further their own interest, but instead trying to guide a Texas bumpkin down the Avenue.  They chose to pay it forward, and they changed me forever.  I am grateful beyond words.  

I am excited about the FAQ, the videos, the wiki, the FB, G+, and Twitter streams. I can’t believe how many folks are blogging and tweeting and talking about EA with their friends, family, and colleagues.  But what I am certain is that if you really want to make a difference, reach out to a new player or two.  Check on them, offer a bit of advice, and mostly listen to their anxieties and concerns.  That is the critical success factor to make EA grow.  We are all struggling together.  Your experience can make a difference today.  I am convinced if we all make just a small effort to encourage the new players there is no limit to what Empire Avenue can achieve.


tumblr_lz67ehtvtD1rni0jxo1_500Missions Part Deaux

Second…since I know that you won’t pay that much attention to my previous post.  When you create a mission, please consider trying my personal rules for life.  Others have called it the KISS technique:  Keep It Simple Stupid!

Most people will not read your mission description.  Many people struggle with understanding English.  If you have more than a screen of mission description, you are begging for disappointment.

Buy me, Like bomb, Retweet type missions asking for a simple action are most likely to succeed.  Interestingly I find that high reward missions generate more mission theft than rewards that match the ‘going rate.’

I have seen folks opine that creative missions will help your success.  Perhaps with some that is accurate, but I prefer to do missions that are easily understood with safe content from a mission creator with a solid reputation.  Become that kind of mission creator, and folks will wait eagerly to do your missions.

Match your reward to the task.  A Retweet is simple; so folks will do it for a lower reward.  The content will also make a difference.  A beautiful photo or a nice quote is easy for anyone to share.  Promoting porn, drug use, idiosyncratic politics, or divisive religious views is more problematic; so that mission will likely require a higher reward.  If you want a long comment, recommendation, or a long video watched; match your reward to the task.  Consider honestly whether you would do the task for that reward for someone you didn’t know or trust.

Some folks think that explaining the reason or justification for the mission will help.  Your long explanation will inconvenience many electrons, and both of the folks who read it.  Has anyone really been convinced by the text of a mission description to do the mission?  Many more have been convinced not to do a mission because of a long, confusing description.


One of the older profiles on the Avenue offers very high paying missions regularly.  I have done exactly two of them.  I am not sure that I did either one of them correctly; so I just decided to pass.  His long, convoluted descriptions just leave me baffled.  Besides I can do 3 or 4 retweets in less time than it takes to read…much less do his mission.

I have one exception to the keep it short rule.  Please be careful to list any unusual terms, conditions, prerequisites, & warnings.  Not Workplace Safe, unsuitable for some streams, self injury trigger, or anything that might not be completely obvious from a brief glance.  A personal peeve is a registration requirement that is not mentioned.  Remember that mission takers can also rate the mission creator.

Personally I despise the warnings against mission theft.  Some folks claim it works, but I really hate the tone it sets.  Sort of sounds like someone invited me to dinner and included a warning not to steal the silver.  Also you set yourself up for a ton of work:  checking, rating, reporting, & blocking on every mission will make that a full time job.

A bit long winded here, but I think I will conclude:  If you KISS with the missions you create, you can have some very enjoyable results.

Unchain Yourself

ImageI know that many of you groan when you see these tips figuring that I am a crazy person suggesting one more thing that you need to do to improve your game. Although you may be right about my sanity, today I offer to take something off your EA To Do List.

Don’t sweat Linked In for Empire Avenue purposes. I am not trashing Linked In. It is a fine social media network. There are tons of reasons why you should be actively involved, but Empire Avenue is not one of them.

The EA FAQ reports, “Due to limited available information from this connection, we pay a lower, fixed amount for LinkedIn.” From the Linked In leader board I notice, someone with a LI score of 100 only pays 0.12(e) per share.

LI scores are very stable; so it may be good for the social media price adjustment from the Market Maker (just a guess here). I think you should leave your LI network attached; since more networks seem to be better always for EA scoring. EA will automatically select the ‘best’ networks for your dividend calculations.  The evidence suggests spending your energy elsewhere if you are trying to raise your scores or improve your dividends.

Unchain yourself from any anxieties about Linked In at least as it relates to Empire Avenue.

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Press Your Luck

ImageIf you want to succeed on Empire Avenue, you need a WordPress account; preferably also a blog. Although EA has discontinued scoring other blogs for now, WordPress blogs hosted by only, count as an important EA Network. Not all networks have the same impact when it comes to producing dividends for your investors. WordPress is quite strong even after the recent updates. 

Two reasons that you need an account.

First there are many WP missions. You must have an account to do those missions; so without a free & easy to create WP account, you lose opportunities to bank some big mission eaves.

Second you can build a reasonable WP network score with little time. EA does not seem to distinguish between original posts and reblogs. That means that you can reblog a few posts daily in just a few minutes. Most bloggers actually appreciate your reblogging because that extends their network reach. Get a few of your friends to like and comment on your blog in exchange for you giving them a few back. Suddenly you have a strong WP network score and a div jump that will make you smile!  Don’t press your luck!  Create a WordPress account and attach it to your EA account.

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More Port Please

port-wineWhen you begin on Empire Avenue, there are some limits on your account. Usually you don’t pay much attention; until you run into them.

I posted about Pie upgrades a few days ago, but probably need to discuss the other really big painful expense that awaits you. Portfolio upgrades can be a challenge.

Your account begins with the ability to invest in up to 1,000 profiles. If you want to own more profiles (and you do); then you must purchase a portfolio upgrade. All upgrades can be purchased in the Empire Avenue Shop found by clicking the button toward the top right of most EA pages.

The pricing on portfolio upgrades is a bit confusing. You can buy with eaves or with cash. The cash price is $25 USD; until you get into the stratosphere. The eaves price changes according to your net wealth. My first portfolio upgrade cost 200,000 eaves. The Portfolio 13 upgrade that I am facing now costs about 13M eaves…yes that is thirteen million eaves to allow me to purchase 5,000 profiles. You have to be close to your portfolio limit before you can buy the next one.

The first Portfolio upgrades will allow you to buy 250 more profiles. You will know it is time, even if you are not paying attention, when you get the error that says you can’t purchase this stock because you have reach your portfolio limit.

There is always a great debate about if you should invest first in Pie upgrades or first in Portfolio upgrades. If you have invested in high dividend producing profiles, then you can grow your dividend income faster with Pie upgrades. If you invest in many profiles, you are more likely to get buy backs that can increase your share price. Buying the Portfolio upgrade while you are poor makes them cheaper, but you are poorer. I started with a few Pie upgrades then alternated between Pie & Port upgrades.

I often hear experienced players tell newer players to focus on Pie upgrades. That does make it easier for you to increase your investment them, but sometimes that might not be the best strategy for you.

I have paid for all my upgrades in eaves so far. If I had it to do over again, I would probably use cash for Portfolio upgrades.  Better for the business of Empire Avenue and easier on me.  Either way; just say:  More Port Please!

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A Little Help

Image Empire Avenue takes time

A couple of folks have noticed that Empire Avenue is time consuming. I hadn’t noticed; since I try to keep my involvement down to less than 25 hours a day or so… There are some tools, ideas, and strategies that can help a bit.

Third Party Portfolio Management Tools: When your portfolio is small, you can handle your investing with EA; but as your investments grow, you will need help. I suggest that you check out the tools now; while your portfolio is small. The tools include, insideEAv, and Empire Avenue Tips. There are also a couple of Apple Store apps (EavMogul is one) also. Please comment if you know about those. These tools can automate your buying, selling, and discovery of stocks.

1. Ben Arledge does It is probably the easiest tool for most folks. There is a charge for some features of the system. 
2. Dennis Dittrich does insideEav. This is the tool I use primarily. Very powerful for slicing & dicing your portfolio, but you seem to need a bit of a tech background to make best use. The system is free; although he accepts contributions gratefully.
3. Paul Houston does Empire Avenue Eav Tips.  I have struggled a bit getting this one to work.

Social Media Automation: Most of you are familiar with these tools that allow you to post content to multiple platforms at once. I suggest that you move carefully with them. Although they can certainly boost your EA score, they can cost you real engagement and contacts.

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Mo’ Money

ImageOne of the challenges when you begin with EA is figuring out how to increase the dividends that you pay each night to your investors. Higher divs will increase your share price and status. Dividends attempt to measure Social Media effectiveness. Think of Dividends a bit like EA’s answer to your Klout score.

The three factors that EA considers in evaluating each network are Reach (how many are in your network), Activity (how much you do on the network), Response (how many retweets, likes, comments…your activity gets). The recent changes to EA have made Response more important and Activity less important. You still have to be active, but a few high quality posts that provoke many reactions will score better than many posts that get no replies.

Since EA evaluates activity on every network that you have attached, you should attach as many as possible. Try creating a new account or two. You might even find one that you particularly enjoy.

Finally know that time will help grow your dividend. Since you don’t have 30 days of EA history yet, your score will naturally rise during your first month on the Avenue.

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Wrong Turns

ImageI was told when I started EA that dividends were calculated by evaluating your top five network scores over the past 7 days. Today I know that neither of those is true.

A few weeks ago Dups explained that ALL your attached social media networks contribute to calculating the dividend that you pay to your shareholders. I had suspected that for the past few months. Only the top five networks contribute to the social media activity adjustment of your share price during user close.  This information as been updated in the EA FAQ document onsite.

A few minutes ago Dups said that your social media activity over the past 30 days is examined to determine your network score and your dividend. This seems to be weighted by about thirds with the first week having big impact, the second somewhat less, and the third week having limited impact.

Seems like every time I KNOW something it turns out I was wrong.

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Primordial Ooze

Why areChristopher Adams Natural Selection you here?

One of the most important things to figure out when you begin Empire Avenue is to set your goals. They don’t have to be set forever. They will likely change. You may have a few or even many, but creating a strategy for success is really tough if you don’t why you are here.

Are you trying to win friends and influence people? Are you trying to learn about Social Media? Do you have a business that you are trying to promote? Are you here just for the game and to have fun?

Do you want to raise your Share Price? Do you want more Net Wealth? Would you like your daily income to be higher? Is conquering the leader board your goal?

Do you have a plan for world domination and are starting on this Avenue to try out your master plan?

You can do any or all of these things (well I’m not certain about that world domination thing, but otherwise…) on Empire Avenue, but probably not all at once. With Empire Avenue, you have to budget your time and your eaves. Your goals can help you decide how and where to spend. That will help you to get to your goals much faster; otherwise you might get stuck in the ooze.

Good luck & remember to have fun!

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