Incorporating social media into investment decision-making

2nd February 2012

For trading purposes, Facebook isn't a great place to get information, stresses StockTwits, being a ‘flat' network full of closed groups – though it tops the lists of social sites where we spend the most time. According to Harvard researchers, their study Social selection and peer influence in an online social network shows there is little ‘peer influence' on Facebook – it is not a site where people's interests rub off on each other.

Twitter, on the other hand, is immediate, with tweets can be researched to decipher their validity – with a more influential effect.

An ex-trader says on StockTwits: "Standing in a trading pit all those years, you learn a lot. People not in the know deride floor traders as a bunch of gorillas. But if there is one thing we know about it's how to react to, find, call bullshit on, and value speedy information…

"Twitter isn't just a stream of information to me. Twitter is a marketplace of information…with depth and immediacy. It's a two-sided exchange with buy/sell indicators and an informational "price" that the people market can react to."

Social media has the capacity to distil complex problems and suggestions into bite-sized chunks that you may wish to investigate. The user determines which to follow, and how to use the information they get – with a range of communities they can interact with.

But where else can you go for a quick slice of information on how to invest your money?

There are a wide range of Finance blogs that Mindful Money keeps a beady eye on – but which suits you is an individual choice depending on your preferences. Using a site such as netvibes enables investors to tailor their feeds to their requirements.

Stewart Conway, Managing Director of the Social Business Group, says: "There are no ‘best' ones as investors are at different levels with various interests – so what appeals to one won't appeal to another."

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