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Twitter is a basic social media tool that I think is the most under-utilized technology that is available for free to the public. I am still very surprised that the vast majority of people do not use Twitter as one of their primary news sources. I want to go over some of the ways that Twitter helps me in my daily life as an MBA student and hopefully will persuade you to start using Twitter.

The best part about Twitter is that it is completely customizable to the individual. While your fifteen year old sister might use Twitter to follow her favorite clothing line and see what Kim Kardashian’s opinion of cheesecake is, there are many people and groups that are out there that can benefit someone in the finance industry, anyone from a generalist who is learning about the industry to someone who concentrates on a very niche sector.

In most top MBA programs the majority of classes will have part of the grade dependent on participation, and although some professors and TAs still count the number of comments a particular student makes, the good ones have devised a system of making sure that quality trumps quantity. Now how does one consistently make quality comments in something like Fixed Income Mathematics for example?

In order to do this successfully you would have to read the FT or WSJ every morning and try to sift out some insight from a plethora of articles and try to put a spin or a deduction from the information to not sound like the guy in class who will basically paraphrase the article title. This is where Twitter comes in. A lot of finance professionals, everyone who is a regular on CNBC/FBN/BBN etc, and many others have active twitter profiles. The posts are 140 characters max length and have a personal opinion from the author, frequently accompanied by a link or additional data that you can read if you want to know the details. There have been many times that I have made unique comments that were a catalyst for further conversation that were a direct result of what I read on twitter prior to class. There have even been times where I would get something by reading Twitter messages during class that would be relevant to the current discussion.

So if you haven’t started using Twitter yet, give it a try. Install the app on your phone, start following a few accounts and use it as your daily interest feed. If you are just starting, I want to share a couple of my favorite accounts that I think deliver the best value relative to the amount of tweets I receive in my feed from them.

  • @convertbond is Larry McDonald, former bond trader, frequent CNBC contributor and author of A Colossal Failure of Common Sense. Larry combines his insight with macro trends and his ability to deliver impactful data in conversation starting tweets.
  • @cnbcfuturesnow is a CNBC sponsored account that provides insight into the futures market. This account frequently provides links to videos that involve conversations about the commodities and energy markets filmed earlier that day.
  • @darrenrovell is an ESPN analyst who provides the business wisdom to sports that can help you kill it in the watercooler sports talk conversations.
  • And of course, possibly the best twitter account of all time is our very own @eddiebraverman who delivers comedic yet insightful information that takes some serious digging on the internet to get a hold of.

Let me know if any of the Twitter users on WSO have any accounts that they follow that are a must for a financial professional. (and of course be sure to follow WSO @wallstreetoasis and me at @yanosov).

Comments (24)

  • ballmouse's picture

    For a long time, I was one of the people that didn't like social media. Perhaps it was because most of my knowledge of social media came from Facebook and the useless banter that it contains, and therefore I just associated all other social media to be just as useless.

    But after a chat with a manager at my firm, it seemed that Twitter could potentially be a real asset to me. I wasn't particularly convinced by the thought of Twitter being a news channel; I don't particularly read much news. But what I was interested in it, albeit selfishly, was that Twitter provided a direct channel from business to consumer. It can potentially be a great source of customer service and resolution for everyday interactions between myself and companies (i.e. Starbucks, Starwood, etc.), and that alone should make it worth considering to use as a part of one's daily life.

  • Drijver's picture

    Actually landed an interview which led to my first internship through Twitter (founder of real estate fund followed me, we exchanged opinions on matters and I bluntly asked him for internship opportunities at his company...). The strength of twitter comes through how one utilizes it.

  • moneymogul's picture

    I recently stopped using Twitter. Twitter is innovative and in my opinion much more effective than Facebook because it takes a different approach to privacy matters. Social media companies like these have a vested interest in less privacy for each user. Facebook started with a solid amount of privacy and has faced a ton of criticism as privacy options became weaker over time.

    Twitter, on the other hand, incentivizes users to have less privacy. If you want your tweets to be retweeted, which is the underlying goal of tweeting, then your account has to be unlocked which means that anyone, including search engines, can see all of your tweets at any time. The alternative is having a locked account: you gain privacy in that you have to approve who can follow you and see your tweets, but you can never be retweeted and will likely have much fewer followers.

    Unfortunately most of the stuff that crosses my mind that I'd like to share usually isn't content that I want indexed by a search engine.

    “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” - Jobs

  • Asatar's picture

    I'm trying REALLY hard to get into Twitter. I don't tweet or anything but find it can be quite good for news. Some of the ones I follow:

    • CNBC / Bloomberg people - Maria Bartiromo, Manus Cranny, Mad Money
    • Reuters / FT / Bloomberg / Dealbreaker / Dealbook / WSJ
    • Zero Hedge - this is actually fantastic for breaking news even if you don't believe in their fiat apocalypse
    • Eddie and Patrick of course!
  • In reply to computerized
    Drijver's picture

    computerized wrote:
    Drijver wrote:
    Actually landed an interview which led to my first internship through Twitter (founder of real estate fund followed me, we exchanged opinions on matters and I bluntly asked him for internship opportunities at his company...). The strength of twitter comes through how one utilizes it.

    That's awesome. What do you usually tweet about?

    I don't actually tweet that often, when I do it is usually a small comment on politics or events relating to business. Personal stuff I tend to avoid as I don't really see the benefit of sharing them with potentially hordes of people. What I also find twitter to be exceptionally useful for is basically just following the media outlets and browsing through headlines to get a quick idea of what is going on in the world on that particular moment in time.

  • Oscar_chow's picture

    Twitter is great, I follow Reuters, Bloomberg, ZH and a couple of other big news accounts, and I don't make a conscious effort to read every single tweet, but you don't have to. For example, the other day my friend was asking me what I knew about x y z article (interview prep for him) and while I hadn't actually read the news properly in a while I knew instantly the main gist of each story because I skimmed over the most relevant 140 characters pertaining that info. (This might sound stupid)