Jeremiah Owyang – @jowyang
Empire Avenue: Was once a highway for influencers, yet now an infrequently travelled back alley. What happened?
I have a massive amount of respect for Jeremiah Owyang. So when I read this tweet, it struck me in an odd way. Perhaps he was just trying to create an interesting turn of phrase. I find it hard to believe that he really feels Empire Avenue was ever a “highway for influencers.”
I joined Empire Avenue sometime near the middle of 2010. My initial thought was something along the lines of, “this is kind of a silly game.” And I don’t think I went back to look at it for many months. It wasn’t until some of my friends began to sign up that I ever really gave it any time or thought. I remember going to sign up again only to find I already had an account. 🙂
At it’s peak in April/May of this year, some of my friends, who will remain nameless, began comparing Empire Avenue to Klout and assigning it authority for understanding both influence and social media effectiveness. They were probably being lead to this conclusion by posts like “5 Reasons Why Empire Avenue Could Be The Next Big Thing In Social Media.” I laughed at the time. And I think I probably taunted them a bit as well. I found it funny that they were comparing one game to another game. And since I was in about to do a robot test to demonstrate that Klout is just a game, I found it even more interesting.
I’ve been wrong about a lot of technology in the past. I wasn’t convinced Twitter was anything in early 2007, for example. And I left Twitter for a time in late 2007. But there was always something intriguing about it. In the case of Empire Avenue, I was pretty convinced from moment one that this was nothing worth spending time on. Nothing about the service excited me when I joined and nothing about what was happening EA frenzy a year later helped to change my mind. In fact, the kinds of behaviors that were causing the site to grow were exactly the opposite of the kinds of behaviors that make for a healthy social networking experience. It’s part of the reason why I deleted Klout and Empire Avenue profiles at the same time last week. And I reserve the right to be wrong about both. 🙂
So, to answer Jeremiah’s question, here’s what happened: I think people finally realized it was kind of a silly game.