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Empire Avenue is a stock market where you can purchase shares in your favorite individual or corporate social media presences. I’m on the service with the ticker symbol IFROGGY.

My friend Damond Nollan has been riding the Empire Avenue wave. He’s a popular user and has dug in pretty deep. I asked him to write a guest post for me and he talked about how you can build community around Empire Avenue and further engage with the people you encounter on EA.

Empire Avenue (EA) is a relatively new social network built upon gamification. On the surface, the site is about buying and selling shares in people using eaves, EA’s virtual currency. However, if you look a little deeper, you may notice a lively community that actively engages both on and off site. In this article, we will explore the Empire Avenue community and learn from existing builders.

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or Cake
Creative Commons License photo credit: soukup

Why moderate? Why do we moderate? If you ask a collection of people who run online communities, you’ll likely come up with dozens of different, or different sounding reasons. But, they’ll likely all come back to one thing.

That thing is focus. When you really break it down, that is why we moderate. Because we’re focusing on a specific niche, a specific environment. Moderation is the act of creating focus.

If you remove vulgarities and profane language, you are focusing more on a work and family friendly environment. If you remove inflammatory and disrespectful comments, you are focusing on a more respectful community. If you don’t allow political or religious discussion, you are focusing on whatever the main topic of your community is.

Moderation is a way of taking a space that is undefined and giving it definition. This can happen without moderation, but it rarely can be maintained without it.

Good Charlotte (50)
Creative Commons License photo credit: 0uT$!d£r

Back in May, I wrote about a highly unfortunate experience that I had at a Diddy/Dirty Money concert at The NorVa, a concert hall in Norfolk, Virginia. A member of the tour’s security team was verbally and physically threatening toward me and a member of the venue’s security only made it worse.

But, the fact that it was an official with the tour underscored, for me, the importance of carefully choosing the people who stand on the front line, dealing directly with your customers. It is no longer acceptable to just be the “muscle” or a button pusher – everyone who interacts with your fans and your customers is an ambassador that can make or break a relationship.

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Envy
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mrs Logic

Today’s inspiration comes from Hannah Keys (this makes two posts in a row mentioning her), who wrote Stop Looking at Other Girls on her Stop Being Crap personal site.

The premise of the post, aimed at women, is that you should appreciate what you have physically, rather than looking at other women, deciding that they are more attractive than you in one way or another, and beating yourself up. Instead, Hannah says, you should appreciate what you do have and understand that each person has their own unique situation that helps dictate how they look or what they weigh. She explains this in her own funny way, so check it out.

I think that most (all?) people do this. Hannah did (totally unnecessarily!), I did and, heck, do. It’s a very human thing to do. I’m my own worst critic. If not physical appearance, it’s some decision, or my writing, or my business or when I speak at conferences (I pretty much tear myself apart every time I get off stage).

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I’ve spent a good portion of the last few days on Turntable, the new social DJ service that allows anyone to be a virtual DJ, pulling from a licensed catalog of over 11 million songs. Right now, access is limited to those who have Facebook friends who are already on the service and access is known to open and close at random intervals.

Turntable itself is pretty simple. You can join any number of rooms (or create your own) and listen to music selected by the DJs playing in that room. You can vote each track played as “Awesome” or “Lame,” but you don’t have to vote. Marking it as “Awesome” will give a “DJ point” to the DJ who played it, while “Lame” does not take away a point. There is a meter at the bottom of the room which shows you what the overall sentiment of the room is toward the song. You can also “fan” your favorite DJs and be notified when they start DJing again in the future.

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Mega Man 3 Legends ProjectSpeaking of listening to feedback from your customers online, storied video game developer and publisher Capcom has done more than just listen – they created an online community, the Devroom, where fans and aspiring game developers can help them develop “Mega Man Legends 3,” the upcoming Nintendo 3DS game, the latest entry in one of the company’s most important franchises.

Not only can community members participate in polls to help decide game features, character designs and more, but they can offer ideas and submit design and visual elements that will actually end up in the game. Not only are they running a community for North America, but they are also running a similar one in Japan.

Capcom’s efforts were spotlighted in the June issue of Nintendo Power by Chris Hoffman, who discussed some of the submissions that were accepted and featured an interview with “Mega Man 3 Legends” producer Tatsuya Kitabayashi, Capcom community manager Joveth Gonzalez (who has since moved over to Zynga) and Devroom community liaison Greg Moore.

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37/365
Creative Commons License photo credit: lisahumes

There are some who believe that the feedback that is offered on online communities, about their product, isn’t worth their attention because it’s only a small percentage of their customer base that may or may not be reflective of a larger majority.

The continuation of this belief is that business decisions shouldn’t be made based upon what is said in an online community or on the feedback being offered because these people are talking to themselves and simply participating an en echo chamber. (This ignores that online communities, and the people within them, can have a lot of influence beyond just their own community, but I’m going to skip past that as it’s not the point of this post).

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Today, I would like to take some inspiration from Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey. It’s a personal record for Dr. Dre and Eminem and a motivational one, as well. I love it.

I’m going to discuss some community management related takeaways from the song, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post by playing the music video. I should warn you, it is explicit and I quote some explicit lyrics in this article.

Give People Opportunities and Mentor Them

The biggest underlying theme in “I Need a Doctor” is the relationship that Eminem and Dr. Dre share. Dre is his mentor, someone who gave him a chance when others wouldn’t, who believed in him and helped him to reach the level of success that he has achieved.

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I’ve come to a realization. I don’t ban people because they deserve it. I ban people because of my own flaws, personality issues or just because I like to toy with people. In other words, they have done nothing wrong.

At least, that’s the impression I get from the messages I receive from banned users or the ones I read where they complain about being banned.

It’s amazing to me how terrible I am at banning people. I really have no clue what I am doing. Even 11 years in, I have no idea.

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