Cost of Free In The Financial Web

The whole idea of giving away ideas for free seems charming.  Twitter and Stocktwits have allowed real professionals to share and connect with others in a way that has never happened before.  This benefits not only those who don’t have a clue about trading, but it’s also a big bonus for the legion of remote traders who work from the lonely confines of home offices.

While I do feel the Stocktwits movement is important and valuable, there’s no denying that amongst all the pros there’s a huge population of novice observers and would-be pundits.  When you add the spam blogs, introducing brokers, newsletter salesmen, data scrapers, and blog aggregators that make up the rest of the financial media, it takes serious effort to sift through the garbage and find some meaning.

What is the true cost of sifting through the un-information and finding meaning in the fire hose of data and opinion?

Financial blogging only serves a few genuine purposes: to allow an auditable trail of ideas for the future, to support and grow a user base for another business, to bounce ideas off other (hopefully) like-minded people, or to sharpen your intellect through writing down your thoughts.  There are others who just have an axe to grind, and want a public place to do it.

In the fast moving world of Twitter, who really cares if you nailed an idea on a particular trade?  The train rolls along and everyone is so desperate to speak over the roar of the engine that no one notices or cares.  It’s on to the next crash, leg up, scandal, bubble, or pundit jab.  Your auditable track record is no where near as important as how often you post.  Clearly enunciating a thesis takes a back seat to content generation because no one will read your material, regardless of quality, if you don’t post frequently.

Sharpening my ideas and improving my trading through the act of writing has been my goal from day one.  The idea of a public website is to share.  You share your thoughts and put yourself out there and you never know what will come back to you.  But no matter how great it is to know that others are reading and enjoying your work, I know that I will never share my best ideas for free on this website.   And furthermore, I feel that it’s disingenuous to do so, especially since in the absence of money the only currency exchanged is notoriety and ego.

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