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A Twitter Warning…

Posted on : 03-08-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : In the News, Social Media, Technology

1

In today’s Wall Street Journal there are 2 interesting articles about Twitter. The first is one that really emphasizes what I have said for a long time, Twitter is the early warning system and it is important for companies to watch what is being said. The article features friends Scott Monty from Ford and Bonin Bough from Pepsi. It also features Southwest’s Linda Rutherford and Coke’s Adam Brown. I have a lot of respect for what Linda has done at Southwest. I am not as familiar with Adam’s work, but I will keep a look out. If you have the opportunity check it out the article “For Companies, a Tweet in Time Can Avert a PR Mess.

The second article is what is driving me to write this post.  It does not feature anyone I know, but it emphasizes the information available via Twitter.  Twitter has changed the world and made it much more flat.  News and information is flying faster than ever before.  The article, titled “For Traders, Twitter is One More Trading Tool” (requires online subscription), emphasizes the story of a trader that found information via Twitter.  The first paragraph states:

“When Thomas Grisafi read a “tweet” the afternoon of July 22 complaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had “goofed again,” the president and chief executive of Indiana Grain Co. wondered what prompted the message.”

This prompted Mr. Grisafi to research what the tweet was about and to trade based on the findings.  My fear is this will drive many to start searching Twitter to make riches.  Remember investing is a long term commitment and short term riches are highly unlikely and involve a lot of risk.  Mr. Grisafi obviously knew who this person was, and had trust in the tweets.  He also did a lot of research off of Twitter before committing money.  This is a key aspect to this story and the reason I am writing this.  Twitter search will not lead to quick riches, and research still must be done.  Unfortunately Twitter has many spammers, similar to the junk mail that you find in your inbox each day.  If you are not buying securities based on spam email, be just as cautious about buying them based on a tweet or perceived information.  I am not saying Twitter is not a useful tool, but like anything else be careful of how your react based on the information.  Even if the person may be a trusted source, such as a known CEO, most will be very careful of what they say.  It is also possible that a twitter account can be hacked or just completely false.  Think of the Exxon Twitter example.

This is just a simple Twitter warning, please go about your day!