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Turn Your Friends Into Stock With Empire Avenue's Social Game

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Social networking is a numbers game. Not only do you try to get the "right" amount of friends on Facebook and a good follower/followed ratio on Twitter, but it's all about wielding some social currency: who knows whom, where you get invited, if you'll get the scoop on the latest celeb death. Nowadays, social networking is quantifying the power of your friendships.

But talking analytics will make the average Facebooker's eyes glaze over. Transitioning it into a buy/sell/trade stock market game, however, suddenly turns your socialite friend into a hot commodity. Empire Avenue, a "social influence stock market" has now launched its Facebook app, which allows players to "buy and sell" the people they know, leveraging profit. The idea is that active, socially "fluent" people are worth more -- the more you tweet, post and share, the higher your value is. Then, you can take the game's currency, called "eaves," and purchase in-game items, which can also increase your value. The more people you invite, the greater access you'll have.

It's an interesting experiment, to be sure, but the idea of funneling our friends or loved one (or former co-workers who awkwardly add us on the 'Book) into some sort of buying and selling game is unsettling. Feeling like you have a measurable value to the people to whom you're connected online is slightly disconcerting -- you literally become a commodity. Then again, what is social networking if not some sort of virtual tracking of the strength of online friendships? This is a complicated social network we weave, so it might be better put your Aunt Maude to work for you somehow, right?

Tags: apps, empire avenue, EmpireAvenue, facebook, gaming, social network, social networking, SocialNetwork, SocialNetworking, stock market, StockMarket, top, twitter