Empire Avenue : The Social Media Exchange
Empire Avenue is the Social Media Exchange, where you can buy and sell shares in any social media profile, 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!
For years now we’ve been fascinated as much by celebrities as by celebrity pop culture itself… I was brought up watching people who my mum and dad told me were ‘genuine’ celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Chuck Norris (obviously). But as I started to take notice of brands in the 90’s, I watched Nike help Michael Jordan to revolutionise the way that we experience celebrities. Ever since that ground-breaking endorsement deal which gave us Mike’s first pair of Air Jordan’s in 1985, the media have enabled brands to turn people into celebrities faster than ever.
And then before you knew it, Simon Cowell found a way to re-invent what ‘celebrity’ means to us. Our Saturday nights have never been the same. Seeing the hunger that we have for stardom, it’s no surprise that music mogul Simon Cowell’s business model is now based upon the value of his artists’ personal brands, not their music. I read last week that he is now worth an estimated $254m. Not bad for a music guy who figured out how to trade off the celebrity aspirations of the general public. Years ago there were just celebrities – now, largely as a result of X-Factor style TV shows, we’ve got A,B and C list celebrities.
It wasn’t actually that long ago that we were fascinated with sites like CelebDaq and HSW which helped us live out our celebrity obsessions. Celebrity trading sites like these let us all pretend to be Gordon Gekko, trading on the fluctuating daily value of rock stars, actors and athletes. What I’ve noticed recently though is that we have moved out of a celebrity driven culture and into a social one – people are more interested in YOU!
I was recently looking to do a business deal with an English guy called Charlie McDonnell. Many of you won’t even have heard of him, but he started filming a personal video diary a few years ago. He’s now got the most subscribed YouTube channel in the UK with almost 1 million subscribers. Not bad for a 20 year old boy-next-door who has never been ‘officially’ famous. Social media has made ‘celebrity’ accessible to everyone. Less than 10 years ago – this would never have been possible.
So while thousands of wannabe musicians and athletes are still looking for their 15 minutes of fame, Canadian start-up Empire Avenue have recognised that we are in the dawn of a new era. A social era. Celebrities are out. People like you and me are in!
Real people are now more interesting than celebrities.
Social media has provided us all with a platform on which we all have a certain level of influence. Whatever you choose to use that influence for is up to you. Maybe you just want to engage with your 130* friends or maybe you’re trying to become an internet celebrity like Charlie. *(130 friends is average number of friends across its 610m users according to Facebook). Whichever it is – the thing is that your level of influence has a value, and once you understand that – it’s not hard to see why a site like Empire Avenue is being hailed as the ‘next big thing’.
Step up Empire Avenue…
Launched in Feb 2010, Empire Avenue (Twitter profile @empireave) is the perfect example of social media meeting the increasing importance of personal branding. It’s a trading site for people to buy and sell shares in your personal brand, rather than in stocks or shares. Yes – you ARE a brand (sorry!) and that brand has a value. The more time you spend building your personal brand (or social profile), the more valuable your brand becomes. What is a little bit un-nerving though is that people want to trade on the value of you brand. I’ve only been on the site for 24 hours and 18 people have chosen to buy virtual shares in me already. Weird.
Hook up your social media accounts to an Empire Avenue profile you’ll soon see how much your brand is worth (you can even start trading on other people’s brands straight away) – but let me warn you – it’s incredibly addictive!
So there you go… We can all be (local) celebrities because we’re ALL “worth it”. Thanks L’Oreal… We knew it all along!
Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a great article last year about ordinary people becoming famous, but it was Tom Peters who prophesied called it 10 years ago with his book Brand You. (Tom and Seth both inspired me to write a book about personal brands myself).
There’s a little mini-video here (which is a little cheesy) with EmpireAve founder Duleepa Wijayawardhana that explains more.
You can also read a little bit more here of the commercial aspirations behind Empire Avenue.