It’s one thing to sound like a great trader on Twitter. It’s another to actually make money trading.
During my three years of hands-on experience with social media, I’ve come to use and appreciate social networking platforms like Twitter for what they’re worth… invaluable tools for absorbing and sharing information.
I don’t have products, services, or ideas to sell. As a trader, I make a living buying and selling commodities. And Twitter simply helps me trade from a more-informed posture.
Truth be told, I don’t sit in front of my computer screens for hours on end monitoring the Twitter stream. I employ staff to extract news, data, and other insights pertinent to markets on any given day. Learning to reconcile this information with one’s instinct, which is developed and honed over time, is crucial to succeeding as a trader, especially in the age of electronic trading.
But at the end of the day, social media is only as helpful as those who contribute to your social media stream. Before one can realise the potential benefits of social media in trading, you must first build trusted relationships with credible, consistent people. For me, farmers are exponentially more credible than the glut of Twitter-friendly Forex traders who talk a good game but couldn’t trade their way out of a paper bag. Without question, these aren’t the sources I want to learn from or even interact with.
We all know more than a few forex traders whose trading careers begin and end with the five or 10 grand their parents lend to them as they chase lofty dreams of Wall Street superstardom. But while anyone can open an account and trade one lots poorly while sounding like Top Gun on Twitter, it takes a special individual to start, maintain, and operate a farm. In Rice County, Minnesota, as just one example, farmland hovers around $6,750 per acre. And the average acre ownership of the American farmer is growing at an exponential pace. Like no time in recent memory, the American farmer is not only growing grains worth their weight in gold, they’re also central to a global commodities boom the likes of which we’ve never seen. So when I say the American farmer brings more knowledge, credibility, and skin in the game to Twitter than the average forex trader, you know where I’m coming from.
Tuesday morning’s CNBC segment about the burgeoning use of Twitter in trading – a segment in which I was fortunate enough to be featured – highlights how many traders – myself included – focus heavily on communicating with and learning from farmers and other ag professionals in the forum of social media. As the trading pits of yesterday become increasingly less relevant relics of a bygone era, rural Australian wheat farmers can now interact with Chicago-based hedge fund traders with the same ease of college roommates bantering in their bunk-beds.
This is the new reality of 21st century electronic trading. And those who fail to adapt to the cutting edge tools and technologies of our time stand to trade at a potentially devastating disadvantage in a marketplace where edge, knowledge, and insight are more important and vital than ever.