An Edmonton-based internet company has developed a very interesting experimental website. It’s called Empire Avenue and it’s a stock market for social influence. The site is currently in beta testing, but is regularly opening the doors for more people to try their hand at being influential.
At present, I am a bit uncertain about the site’s usefulness in the classroom. I can see applications in Social Studies and Economics classes, obviously, but I think Language Arts and CTS Media courses might also be a candidates for use of the site. What may be difficult is working with youth who are under the age of 18 and all the rules regarding information control (it’s likely less dangerous than using Google Buzz if you are worried about that sort of thing). Other problems may arise in the area of bullying (what happens to people with fragile self-images when they see their stock plummet on the day?)
As a social experiment, it may be nothing more than a very complicated popularity contest. I, however, would like to see this as a first step in measuring something that has been heretofore difficult to measure: how MUCH more do some people matter in society than others? That having been said, I don’t see Malcolm Gladwell on here yet. Maybe next week…
I am currently doing not too badly in the stock exchange and, if you are interested in buying shares, my stock symbol is SCM.