Just moved in!

Introducing Brad Grier!

The most fun part of Empire Avenue has been working with some of the greatest minds and the funnest (yes I know it’s not a word, but it’s my blog post and I can create new words if I want to :p) people. And as we expand our team, we’re not about to stop hiring people with that winning combination of talent and fun!

So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Brad Grier, who will step into the shoes of Director of Social Media and Community Management. Brad has actually been part of the team since the beginning; I remember approaching Brad in the back corner of Boston Pizza on Whyte Ave in Edmonton before we had ever launched and saying, “I can’t tell you all the details, but I’m starting a project called Empire Avenue. Would you be interested in joining?” Unfortunately for Brad, his sense of curiousity got the better of him that day and, as we say, the rest is history. Over the past year, Brad has kindly worked into the wee hours after his regular day job to set up planet.empireavenue.com, help define some parts of our community and as with the rest of the team, define the product that we have.

The difference now is that Brad gets to take his Empire Avenue hobby and turn it into a full-time job. Brad’s job is to help you, to help the community, to expand the community, to find new ways for everyone in our fantastic community to express themselves. Brad will also continue to be our community evangelist within the company. It’s no small task! We have an incredible community and now you have a specific person you can talk to directly and make sure that your voice, your ideas and your needs are heard.

In addition, it means that we get to communicate even more with you. After all, there are only so many cycles in each of our developer days to spend time chatting with the community; now, with Brad on board, we want to accelerate and take our community support to a new level.

Please join me in welcoming Brad Grier full-time to Empire Avenue. You can find Brad helping to manage our @empireave account, as @bgrier on Twitter, on our Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages, as well as on Empire Avenue as (e)BGRIER. He’s a good investment 😉

Brad will be getting help from our favourite Squirrel Companion, Sir Rudiger, who will henceforth report to him (thankfully, and maybe he’ll stop leaving nuts on my desk).

Talking about Chat

So the very first thing Brad decided to do (and I get to announce this one) is to make some changes to our site chat bar powered by the excellent software from the team at Envolve.

We have decided to open Envolve up so that you can all run your own chats and group chats across the site. We realize that we are now in 150+ countries with a a strong presence in many. This requires you to be able to create chats in your languages and chat and operate as you wish. Unlike before, we won’t be using moderators, as with the new Envolve software, whoever creates the chat room is the moderator of that chat room. You will each control it.

We hope you have fun chatting with users all around the world. If our site-wide chat system is not what you are looking for, we have options to disable it. We have amended our Terms of Service to reflect the openness of our chat as well. Please check the “More Chats” area for site-wide chats that people have started.

On occasion, Empire Avenue may officially run an organized chat on the site, and we may even sponsor a specific community chat. Brad will will help organize all of those and contact community members to help moderate and be recognized!

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