Academic Study Of Top Tweeters In Finance Is A Complete Disaster

The core idea was sound: Two Italian academics set out to formally measure the best financial Tweeters.

The execution left much to be desired.

Published in English last month by the University of Pavia, How to measure the quality of financial tweets” lays out an h-index score, modelled on the one commonly used to measure the influence of academic papers, to find the best finance folks to follow on Twitter. (This was brought to our attention by Pawel Morski).

But the ingredients in the score seem awfully simplistic: It’s basically a weighted score of retweets.

They were also working from an unfiltered list of top finance tweeters they identify as from the Financial Times but which is actually from eFinancialNews.

The lack of careful parsing of the list results in Goldman Sachs Elevator and Queen Europe, a mock Angela Merkel account, both labelled as “parody” on FT’s original article, coming in with the academics’ highest h-index.

That’s just the start. The study never distinguishes between of the types of information the tweeters are Tweeting. Thus they equate the quality of former Rolling Stone and current First Look Media columnist Matt Taibbi’s tweets with PIMCO’s, which have been known to move markets.

Finally, the apparently meagre criteria used in their metric ended up making the rest of the field’s scores fairly identical.

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