Sooner or later, I feel I needed to share my thoughts about Twitter; since I have added some 1,000 or so followers in the past few days, this seems like a good time as any to speak up.
I have probably been using Twitter on and off for close to two years. From the start, I have had a love-hate relationship with the platform, for a variety of reasons. Initially it was largely a case of poor stability and reliability, then as Twitter made it into the mainstream, it seemed as if it was one too many communications channels – both inbound and outbound. As a result, I have a history of using Twitter in periodic bursts of activity, becoming disillusioned, swearing it off for awhile, then eventually poking my head back in to see if I should give it another test drive. If it sounds like a crazy process, I tried the same approach with classical music for several years and one day suddenly discovered I was in love. (Fortunately, I never took this approach to dating…)
In the last two months I have finally made my peace with Twitter. There is no longer any love or hate, but I think I have finally come to terms with how I would like to use this communications channel. The easy part is outbound communications, where I have decided to differentiate my Twitter posts from the blog by focusing on three areas, in descending order of importance (at least as I see it):
- ‘Retweeting’ commentary and analysis (largely but not entirely investment-related) that I believe deserves a wider audience
- Notifying readers of a new post up on VIX and More
- Offering impromptu comments about intraday market activity
For those who are interested in following me on Twitter, you can find me at Twitter.com/VIXandMore
From my perspective, the more difficult side of Twitter has always been inbound communications, where I prefer not to drink for the proverbial fire hose in real time. I have found that I can keep up with only 2-3 dozen of my favorite Twitter sources – and only for those who tweet no more than a few times per day. So while I get only a small slice of the Twitter community, I get quality input in real time. For the other 300 or so of my regular sources of information, I can always grab their RSS feeds via Google Reader or Bloglines and read the material at my leisure.
I have tried a variety of applications which I thought might significantly improve my Twitter experience, including TweetDeck and others, but none of these has revolutionized my Twitter experience. For my purposes, the best Twitter application I have used so far is Twitterfall, which I first heard about in Traders Atwitter Over New Apps from Theresa Carey’s excellent Investor Brain blog. Part of the reason I have become a Twitterfall fan is that I can use it to set up filters for keywords such as VIX and VXX – so I can scan the entire Twitterverse in real time to see what is being said about these subjects.
Going forward, I hope to continue to use Twitter as an extension of the blog, to highlight some interesting links as I happen upon them and to offer some intraday market commentary that is probably more appropriate for a microblogging platform than for posting in this space.