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Shorting #OBL Sunday at 11.35pm

by henrycopeland
Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The oldest maxim on Wall Street is ‘buy the rumor, sell the fact’.

The longer version: markets often effectively discount information long before a nugget of news becomes official. When rumors have abounded and the actual news finally becomes official, the party is over and the market subsides toward its prior level.

So it’s striking to see that tweet volumes Sunday night trended steadily up into President Obama’s announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, then tapered off.

Was this because everyone went to bed, or because Twitter ‘info trading volumes’ conform to Wall Street’s favorite rule?

Another angle on the entwinement of Twitter and trading here. And more background on the evolution of speculation on Sunday night.

8 Ways to Fail Your Twitter Bio

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Here’s a list of overused words in Twitter bios that fail by telling rather than showing.

Expert or Maven (33,209)
It’s up to your peers, not you, to declare you an expert. Too often, seeing “expert” in a bio sends us running in the opposite direction. Kinda like being a self-described “winner.”

Nothing shouts “leader of a cult with one member” more than a self-titled “guru.” Unless you’re a yogi or a certified leader of Eastern religion, leave the Guru-ing to, you know, Gurus.

Social Media (44,518)
If you’re a “social media” strategist, chances are that your intended audience is full of other “social media” types. And they don’t call it social media, they just call it “work.”

Enthusiast, (39,237)
Enthusiast sounds sweeter and less pompous than guru or expert. It’s just that, well, lots of other people are enthusiastic about being an enthusiast. How about “fan?” Or, if you’re just trying to say it with more syllables, try “aficionado.”

Nerd (31,052)
Back in the day, “nerd” was an inflammatory word that conjured up images of taped-together glasses and greasy hair. Today, “nerd” can be synonymous with “enthusiast,” both in meaning and frequency of use on the internet.

Geek (68,754)
The debate has raged over the differences between nerds and geeks since Sputnik. This venn diagram indicates a geek is a nerd with social skills. There are a lot of networked nerds out there.

Human or Person (128,109)
It may feel sensitive to finish off your bio with “human” or “person.” But your writing should prove you’re not a robot.  If your bio says “father, skateboarder, guitarist, social media guru, cyborg,” THEN we’re excited.

2.0 (13,711), Interactive (12,179), and Online (103,349)
Do you add “Earth” to your mailing address?

Don’t despair if you’re using some of these words or phrases.  But if you’re using two at once — for example Social Media Enthusiasts (2791) or Expert Gurus (470) — do some pruning.

And if you’re using three — Online Mavens of Geekdom — hire a human.

Bonus: There are 8901 ninjas on twitter. Who’s minding the dojo?

For more fun with buzzword (ab)use, check out LinkedIn’s most overused profile buzzwords.

See also @scottgould‘s post about Twitter bio uniqueness.

RIP blogging?

by henrycopeland
Sunday, February 27th, 2011

A lot of pixels have been sprayed since the New York Times story headlined “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter.”

The essential data: “The Internet and American Life Project at the Pew Research Center found that from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; now 14 percent of children those ages who use the Internet have blogs. Among 18-to-33-year-olds, the project said in a report last year, blogging dropped two percentage points in 2010 from two years earlier.”

Does this spell the end of blogging? In fact, the decline in blogs as a place for random musings and trivia is wonderful news for blogs and their readers. We already had WAY too much noise. Now with Twitter and Facebook siphoning off the trivia and momentary mind-burps, blogs are increasingly the safe-harbor for deeper dives into a topic, whether that topic is books or gossip or politics.

Clive Thompson captured the new blogging ecosystem perfectly a few weeks back in Wired:

When something newsworthy happens today — Brett Favre losing to the Jets, news of a new iPhone, a Brazilian election runoff — you get a sudden blizzard of status updates. These are just short takes, and they’re often half-baked or gossipy and may not even be entirely true. But that’s OK; they’re not intended to be carefully constructed. Society is just chewing over what happened, forming a quick impression of What It All Means.

The long take is the opposite: It’s a deeply considered report and analysis, and it often takes weeks, months, or years to produce. It used to be that only traditional media, like magazines or documentaries or books, delivered the long take. But now, some of the most in-depth stuff I read comes from academics or businesspeople penning big blog essays, Dexter fans writing 5,000-word exegeses of the show, and nonprofits like the Pew Charitable Trusts producing exhaustively researched reports on American life.

And Matt Mullenweg of Wordpress also noted that the data isn’t actually that dire. Fewer people may be blogging, but the number of people reading blogs is growing.

The title was probably written by an editor, not the author, because as soon as the article gets past the two token teenagers who tumble and Facebook instead of blogging, the stats show all the major blogging services growing — even Blogger whose global “unique visitors rose 9 percent, to 323 million,” meaning it grew about 6 Foursquares last year alone. (In the same timeframe WordPress.com grew about 80 million uniques according to Quantcast.)

Twitter bashing part 2

by henrycopeland
Monday, June 15th, 2009

Another day, another prediction of Twitter’s imminent demise today, this time from one Jason Clark.

Taking a close look at Clark’s arguments against Twitter leaves me more convinced than ever that Twitter is, like the action and community of blogging for certain thoughts and communities, The Real Thing. A New Thing. A Good Thing. A Lasting Thing.

A Real New Good Thing That Will Last.

What are Clark’s arguments?

Noting that Terminal Social Networking Solutions have come and gone over the years — BBS, Usenet, IRC — Clark concludes Twitter is “overhyped on a massive level and predict[s] its obsolescence in a year or less.”

Clark argues, correctly I think, that Twitter may soon be useless as a marketing medium, just as commercial e-mailing became self-defeating spam once too many marketers decided “share” their products via e-mail.

But most of Clark’s arguments miscast Twitter’s strengths as weaknesses.

a) Clark knocks Twitter’s simplicity, predicting that more sophisticated UIs, like Google’s Wave, will trump Twitter. In fact, Twitter hasn’t succeeded despite its simplicity, but because of its simplicity. (Check out this 1 hour and 20 minute video “intro to Wave“… whoeee!)

Twitter is a joy because it strips communication down to its essential elements — give and take, modulate and moderate, share and swap, argue and support — and make these interactions feasible with thousands of people at once. I feel my social and intellectual life is significantly richer as I share ideas, jokes, fragments of personal experience with the (currently) 465 people I follow and the 1736 people who follow me.

b) Clark kvetches that only 30% of users “stick” on Twitter. Given that Twitter depends on network effects — Twitter is not REALLY fun and socially dynamic unless your friends are also using it — this adoption rate is phenomenal for a service that’s only used by <0.2% of Americans.

c) Clark complains that Twitter’s conversations are disorganized, fundamentally crippled by “limited and obscure nomenclature.” Twitter isn’t perfect, but what is?

Twitter lets me sit in a coffee shop eaves-dropping on some of the world’s most fascinating, plugged in people — like my former editor Jon Gage, New York aficionado Amy Langfield, SEO maven Sara Holoubek, media gadfly David Carr, gossip mogul Perez Hilton, wit-whipping Baratunde Thurston, post-slinger Amanda Marcotte, conservative web guru Patrick Ruffini, social spook Amy Senger, progressive bonfire Markos Moulitsas, and Cluetrain/VRM visionary Doc Searls — and sometimes share my thoughts with them.

d) Everyone will leave for some new service with the arrival of “a glut of competition in the next few months, with companies duking it out for the best implementation of the microblogging model.”

Will all the hundreds of fascinating people I follow suddenly emigrate to one new service, dragging me a long? Social network gravity is strong — the odds are greater that the Alps will break loose from continental Europe and spiral off into space.

Twitter has already captured the best and the brightest. There MIGHT be a new Twitter-like service for an articulate, highly networked subset of people who aren’t currently enTwittered — evangelicals, for example. But there is NO WAY one million of America’s best and brightest media freaks are going to decamp en mass to some new service.

Though more powerful communications tools abound, most of the time, I don’t want to do more than what Twitter offers, thank you very much. Suggesting that Twitter will fail because of its simplicity is like saying bicycles would be more fun if they had four wheels, an eight cylinder engine, seat-belts and a glass and steel cage. We’ve got plenty of cars already, I’m happy on my bike.

My bet is that many new people will take to Twitter in the future. Twitter will be bigger and better five years from now than today. Lots won’t, but that’s OK.

(Don’t miss Ken Layne’s hilarious excoriation of Twitter in the comments on this post. Ken would be less agoraphobic if he twittered more. 🙂

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