During the past few weeks I have become a total twit. True, Roald Dahl’s or Monty Python’s idiotic characters have made me laugh or inspired me in many different ways. But, I decided that it was time to stop fooling around in the Twittersphere and to give myself a clearer voice there. So, a little self-discovery was in order. Could I meld the little bits of my normal character into one form? I’m really not sure, but it’s been fun to try to explore my long-standing interests in word play with my equally long-standing love of certain sports. Add to that, my day-job as a trader. Add to that my constant position as a parent. Add to that my interest in my religion. Add to that…
So, I have been punning mercilessly in the context of whatever triggered my interests–finance, tennis, soccer, politics, religion, or whatever. I’ve tried my hand at streaming tweets during events that excited me–there are enough slack moments to do it and still keep up with the activities unfolding. I found that it was not a bad way to wile away the wee hours of the night while watching tennis during the Australian Open, whether matches were lacklustre or full of nail-biting drama. I’ve had fun following the exploits of soccer artistes during the recent African Cup of Nations. I get a kick out of trying to be witty about the sometimes dramatic or essentially humdrum events unfolding in the financial world. Is the prospect of Greece defaulting a dramatic or drachma-tic? Take your pick. My view pitted against yours.
Twitter is a very interesting space once you engage. As someone commented to me yesterday, there are enough ‘trolls’ out there so it’s nice to try to separate oneself from that mob. The Washington Post reported recently how teachers had found a good way to collaborate through tweeting. A friend asked if that was not supposed to be done in the teachers’ common room. Perhaps, once upon a time it was so. But, perhaps, like many work practices in an age more dominated by electronic communications, the need and time to congregate face-to-face has diminished. I can’t really say. With so many people being ‘so busy’ at work, it’s more likely that they do not sit and chat as much as they used to or should.
For those of us in the financial field, it’s clear that with so much daily activity possible at the end of a terminal and keyboard with screen, we are less likely to be in any space that would allow face-to-face communication. The home office is not necessarily an isolated location anymore. Twitter has really filled a void for the solo or near-solo trader, for example. Not only can we all do what we want in our own individual ways, but we can share what we do with as much openness as we like without compromising our own style and performance. Those who have ‘proven methods’ are very glad to share those, whether for egotistical or really pay-it-forward learning reasons. Those who are charlatans can post as much as they like but will be found out for what they are in due course. Twitter time-stamps can be the mark of credibility that says it all.
But, lesser-known solo actors have the luxury of rubbing shoulders equally with ‘big boys’ and ‘big girls’. Revered institutions and media sources are part of our conversation too. I can react with as much reverence or lack of it to whatever I see coming from whoever or whatever purports to be august. My view gets aired without restraint. I may actually have a better point of view, which could not be so easily expressed unless I was invited to some select meeting. This widening of the space for exchange, which has also been done through blogs, has really helped in economics (as noted a few weeks ago by The Economist). Now, we are equals or near-equals. That is true empowerment.
I suppose that I should decide whether building a following is important in this venture. So far, I have not focused much on that–it’s not something that matters financially. If I get past a few thousand followers will I feel different? I’ll say when I get there.
In the meantime, I will also try to steer away from those who seem to relish having a mean time on Twitter. What a way to waste energy!
I wonder, though, if I need to find a more attractive handle. Any suggestions welcome.