Jonah Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex has an interesting post up talking about the value of following strangers on Twitter. He notes how we all have a tendency to associate (virtually) with people of like mind and outlook. It stands t reason that going outside of our comfort zone may have some benefits.
I’d argue that the benefits of these twitter strangers extend beyond the fleeting pleasures of electronic eavesdropping. Instead, being exposed to a constant stream of unexpected tweets – even when the tweets seem wrong, or nonsensical, or just plain silly – can actually expand our creative potential.
Lehrer talks about the “power of surprise.” When we hear or read something unexpected it forces us to confront our underlying assumptions. One can see how this might be of value when examining the markets. He writes:
And this is why following someone unexpected on Twitter can be a small step towards a more open mind. Because not everybody reacts to the same thing in the same way.
Last year we had a post up that talked this very topic and its applicability to StockTwits. In “How to make the most of StockTwits” we talked about how following some people with a different approach to the markets may help combat confirmation bias. Following a stranger or two would help combat this, but one wonders whether following a stranger is necessarily the best approach.
As we discussed in the earlier post it might make sense to systematically follow people with different approaches to the market. For instance a swing trader might want to follow a day trader. Some one who trades equities exclusively may want to follow some one who trade forex. A fundamental investor may want to follow some who uses technicals, and vice versa. As you can see the permutations are endless.
The great thing is that doing this requires little additional time or effort on your part. In closing we quote ourselves:
The point is that no one person (or method) has all the answers. We learned this early on as a fan of Jack Schwager’s Market Wizards. The fact is that there are as many ways to make money in the markets as there are traders. Feel free to follow traders of a like-mind. However, the opportunity today is to expose yourself to some new ways of thinking about the markets. The positive thing is that in the age of services like StockTwits, exposing yourself to a range of opinions is just a click or two away.