Haven't done one of these EA posts in a while, so with all the big changes going on over there, wanted to trot the GIF out (full disclosure: it, and the link at top of post, are my referral link to the site) and say, "Hey, check it out ..." one more time.
If you're not familiar with Empire Avenue, it's a social stock market game that you can play for free (like everything else, there's the option to buy in-game stuff, but you don't need to play and do well in the game), from desktop or mobile. It allows you create a stock ticker which other players can buy your stock on EA's exchange. You play with an in-game currency called 'eaves' that can be used for trading, purchasing in-game upgrades, and to run missions that other players can complete for an eaves reward. As you build a portfolio of other players, you earn more and more eaves daily from the dividends on your holdings.
The game is a little complex at the beginning, but really not that bad, and there are plenty of players who are more than happy to answer noob questions. What got me hooked on it is it does this cool thing by gamifying your twitter, instagram, g+, facebook posting -- you earn fake currency by your activity, as well as the activity of others in whom you're invested, that you can use to run missions to encourage other players to check out your stuff, or anything on the web you think is deserving of more attention. Now, they may not care for it, they may not interact with it, and it may not do anything for you in the long run most of the time; however, occasionally, you catch the eye of another player with similar interests you may not have already been connected with out in the rest of the internet and you find you're fulfilling E.M. Forster's injunction from Howard's End to "only connect". That's how Marcel's excellent resource, The Tolkienist, ended up in my sidebar and a regular stop on my reading rounds.
As with all things, there's a bit of a catch. Me, I play EA as a game, but it's a site that actually was built for and is marketed to social media professionals and marketers, so there are a lot of players with a business interest in the game. (A few big international corporations also have accounts their social media departments run.) So, with that comes some sales-y, marketing behaviors that can be alienating to those of us who aren't selling anything and don't want to be sold things. I'm here to tell you though that if you're a blogger just out sharing your thoughts on things that interest you in case anyone else happens to be interested, or on twitter to follow your favorite comedians, actors, sports stars, your friends, you can still have fun playing EA.
I compare it to playing Ingress in the sense that, if you've ever checked in on foursquare or facebook at the science museum when you're with your kids, you can also gamify that activity by hacking that portal and trying to take it over, so you can 'own' the science museum in Ingress. You were already using your phone to say "hey, I was here," anyways, so Ingress is an almost frictionless way to make a 'check-in' a play in a game that, because it crosses over into real life, is more engaging than crushing candy or whatever so many of our facebook friends are doing. Ingress gamifies your visits to cultural attractions, EA gamifies the stuff you were already doing on other social media.
If you decide to give playing EA try, make sure you look me up in-game, (e)CDOGZILLA, and I'll do whatever I can to help you get acclimated and off to a good start. I'll introduce you to some other players and communities that I enjoy interacting with -- oh, forgot to talk about communities, so yeah, there are communities for Doctor Who fans, Tolkienists, etc. that you can participate in as well. This is one area where I hope to see more growth and activity as more casual players get exposed to the game and find other players with the same fandom/interests. Personally, I'd love to get more Doctor Who fans to sign up over there and join the community!