Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a bank called the Bank of United States (BUS), based in New York. In September, 1929, BUS held $200 million in deposits in its coffers. But, by December 1931 – during some of the toughest days of The Great Depression – it collapsed, making it the largest US bank failure in history.
Why was this so?
Exactly a year before the bank’s crash, an article in The New York Times reported that a small merchant in the Bronx borough had visited his local branch of the BUS, ready to sell BUS stock that he owned. The bank’s representatives advised him to keep his share, on the grounds that it was a good investment. But, as soon as the merchant left the building, he spread rumors that BUS had refused to buy the stock outright, raising questions about the bank’s ability to pay to reacquire the stock.
Hours later, crowds of New Yorkers gathered outside BUS’ many branches, demanding their deposits in those pre-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) days. By the end of the day, the bank was out $2 million dollars – and that was just the beginning. A year later, the bank declared insolvency and fell apart. Thankfully, today we don’t have to be like the small merchant who only had his bank advisors to rely on for financial advice on his stock – a similar bank run would cost billions today!
We have lots of other more current and up-to-date ways of exchanging information and one of the most popular ways is Twitter.
Tips shared in real-time on Twitter, by the traders that you follow, could clue you in on opportunities that official news media organizations might only expose hours or days later. So, finding a list of traders to follow on Twitter will help you to bring your own style to the stock game, based on your own risk profile. It can also substantially shorten the learning curve for participating in stock trading, while providing the best financial results.
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So, are you ready to build your own trader Twitterverse?
Here are a few things that you should know:
Cashtags: If you’re new to trading, you should know that Twitter uses the dollar symbol ($) as a “cashtag,” to sort tweets related to ticker symbols on the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter news of Google stock, for example, can easily be sorted by searching its cashtag, $GOOG. You can type in their cashtags to see who has been chiming in on your favorite stocks’ follies and fumbles.
Value: It’s important that you don’t follow just anyone for advice on investments. In general, it’s wise follow at least a few active tweeters who already have at least 2,000 followers. That way you know that their information is up-to-date and holds value for a community of traders. Not that you can’t follow newer traders, but it’s always wise to have a few veteran traders in the bag.
Proven Track Record Over Credentials: Some traders advertise their college degrees or experience with large financial institutions as ethos. But, keep in mind that Twitter does not conduct degree or identity checks for people sharing their trading activity online. Now, no one here is telling you that someone needs to have a degree in finance or business or a job at Morgan Stanley to know how to trade. But, don’t be fooled by a trader listing his institutional credentials as a substitution for a proven track record of success. We’d take success over credentials, any day of the week.
Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: Some traders, who are serious about maintaining a trusted following, will sometimes post their filings for the Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of the year as proof of their profits. Others, like Superman of @super_trades, will have accounts on Profit.ly or similar sites that verify profitable trades and generate shareable links as proof of the size of a maneuver’s success. This category of gurus does not leave their followers guessing.
Honesty is Always the Best Policy: No one is a winner all of the time and any trader saying anything different is… a new trader or a non-trader or a liar. Real traders who you can learn from are not afraid to share their losses and, if they lost, why they lost. Yes, even the big losses. Serious traders will share it all—not just the thrill of victory, but the agony of defeat.
Who’s Following Who: Once you’ve found a trader or two that you know is a solid follow, see who they’re following. Chances are, the people they are following are worth following. Then, see who those people are following. And so on. Soon, you should have a substantial list of traders to learn from.
Algorithms are just algorithms: You’ll notice, off to the right side of your Twitter page, a “Who to Follow” section, with “helpful” suggestions on who you should follow. We’re not saying that there won’t be anyone worth following in these suggestions. What we are saying that this is an algorithm that includes “sponsored” profiles, as well as those based on your location and who you are already following. This is just a formulaic and sub-par way to find worthy traders to follow. We suggest you just do it the old fashioned way–on your own.
Financial news sites might be good for something: Several financial news sites compile a list of their favorite Twitter traders annually, or even twice a year. Browsing through them could help you find a few traders, although you may want to start with StocksToTrade and go from there.
Profit.ly: There are a lot of valuable insights to be learned from the users at profit.ly. Choose a few and follow them on Twitter!
After you’ve cultivated your initial list and you have around 30 or so traders that you really trust, make sure that you keep an eye on your feed throughout the day. Track their interactions with other followers. Are they receiving positive feedback? If so, how much?
Track the amount of buzz the trader generates throughout the days, weeks and months. This will tell you more about the traders’ styles and how often they re-evaluate the status of their profile of investments. Find the traders that you fit with and tweak your list accordingly. You may want to keep a variety of trading styles on your follow list, to keep yourself rounded, but you may find that you gravitate toward one or two key traders.
StocksToTrade’s Twitter feed (@StocksToTrade) is a great way to start amassing your list. STT tracks successful trades and traders as well. Follow to find your first mentor!
After you’ve assembled your list of traders to follow, enjoy the new resource and never stop tweaking it.
Better yet, share your favorites in the comments section.
Happy trading and happy twittering!