There was a great piece yesterday in the New Yorker about the impossibility of the ‘language of finance‘. READ it! The message:
The language of money is a powerful tool, and it is also a tool of power. Incomprehension is a form of consent. If we allow ourselves not to understand this language, we are signing off on the way the world works today—in particular, we are signing off on the prospect of an ever-widening gap between the rich and everyone else, a world in which everything about your life is determined by the accident of who your parents are. Those of us who are interested in stopping that from happening need to learn how to measure the level of the Nile for ourselves.
When we started Stocktwits, I called it the ‘Human Ticker’ and wanted to make sure people had a place to ‘learn’ the language of finance and markets. Chris, our founding CTO called it ‘$Cashtagging’. I thought the best way was giving people a place to journal and others a place to look over their shoulders. Most people eavesdrop on every social platform. That was 2008.
Last year, even Carl Icahn started ‘$Cashtagging’ and he thought $AAPL was undervalued. CNBC was horrified. Wall Street too. I called it a huge acceleration point in the slow cycle of social finance. Here is a rare CNBC appearance explaining it in the moment LAST August:
Flash forward a year and $AAPL is 40 percent higher. I can’t figure out how this is not GREAT. Last August, the angry Twitter and Stocktwits mobs were calling for Tim Cook’s head. Apple was dead. Those investors that were long and journaling such now have a timeline to point at. They now can build audience and trust and the right people can rise to the top to mentor the next generation of investors.
For the last few weeks I have been brainstorming with a very talented woman – Brenna Hardman on the future of Wall Street She started a Chicago firm called Buy Side Design. Brenna chimed in on the ‘Great Wall of Wall Street’ back in April:
Fom loud trading pits to quiet twitter streams, something is unusually amiss in the world of financial media. There is one group that is largely missing and unheard – the registered representatives. The majority of registered reps I know are discouraged or blatantly prohibited from speaking with the press. Some registered reps may have an industry spokesperson yet many times that person has zero trading experience and never had any skin in the game.
Websites like Linkedin and Twitter are entirely blocked at most firms and some even block CNBC and Bloomberg. The financial industry has been encapsulated by a Great Wall. This Great Wall of Wall Street has caused a skewed perspective of the financial industry because the greatest participants do not have a voice in the media.
I have first-hand experience because I was registered with the Series 3, 4, 7, 24 and 63 which allowed access to sell futures and options to clients (Series 7), and also supervise other employees who sell securities and futures (Series 24 and 4). Yet, I could not post on social media outlets or explain where I worked while broadcasting on CBOE TV.
What I find alarming is that registered representatives are not allowed to represent the industry to the public. Perhaps the reason why so many financial institutions seem like these faceless, lawless places is because there is no one publicly representing the choices of these institutions. According to Edelman PR, public trust in asset management is a mere 46% compared to public trust in the technology sector which is at 79%. Financial companies need to act more like tech companies and share their story and successes digitally.
Brenna has been a Stocktwits believer since 2008 and has long asked ‘Do You Cashtag’? I am excited to be working directly with her on some projects for the Stocktwits community.