Tweet on This!
The other day Hedgefund girl sent me an article by some guy named Peter Brandt who supposedly has been trading for 20 million years that was ominously titled “Warning: Tweeting can be harmful to a trader’s financial health.” In his little missive Mr. Brandt states that, “Getting drawn into the emotions of minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day price volatility is counter productive to trading habits necessary for profitability.” And then he pompously observes, “What makes money long term for the big players and commercial houses is the edge they build into their trading operations. This edge is gained by approaching trading as a business with predetermined risk control protocols, statistical detachment, careful planning and execution of a logical trading plan.”
That sounds good- doesn’t it? But it’s total bullcrap. Not one of the supposed properties that Mr. Brandt cites will provide any edge to a market player. What they will do is offer a measure of professional risk control -- but all that means in the long run is that the pros will not lose their money quickly. True edge doesn’t come from good accounting or actuarial practices. It comes from being able to accurately read the mind of the market. That’s why true edge is so elusive and ephemeral.It changes constantly.
Contrary to Mr. Brandt’s assertion, the big players can be just as stupid as small speculators. Witness LTCM, the Metallgeschaft scandal and the scores of idiots currently running money on the institutional side. The reason I take such issue with his premise is that I actually believe that Twitter is one of the greatest investment tools ever invented, precisely because it expresses the emotion of the market in real time. By viewing the comments of others as well as my own tweets I can often gauge the current mood and figure out the mindset of the majority.
Markets are not based on cold calculating accounting, but rather on raw human emotion. It doesn’t matter if we exchange prices via old style paper tickets on the floor of the CME or via nanosecond transactions of the computer screen. Market action is driven by emotion. That’s why I find Mr. Brand’s disdain for price action so puzzling. Speculation IS price action and Twitter helps us understand and interpret price action better than any other tool I’ve seen. That’s why I am such an enthusiastic user of the product. It not only allows me to share my analysis with the world, but it helps me be a better trader every day.