Empire Avenue, the social stock market, yesterday released an upgrade allowing members to increase the maximum amount of shares they can hold in other people and companies listed on the exchange. It set of a bit of a frenzy on the site, and also underlined a bit of the problem it has around community engagement.
There are a number of distinct types of people interested in Empire Avenue, but to focus on the networking aspect, buying of shares is a key component. Buying shares is how you connect, and when the site was brand new, everyone had very little virtual currency and purchases were a big deal. For new members now, many of the mature players are out of reach for buying. And many of the mature players long ago maxed shares in hundreds if not thousands of people and no longer connect around buying.
Wealth disparities and max holds discourage networking on Empire Avenue.
Thanks to the added ability to buy shares, I heard yesterday from many folks I really like on the site but had not interacted with for months.
For those playing Empire Avenue, did you experience the same? What other networking bottlenecks occur due the design of online networks?
photo by kurafire