Is Tweeting Worth It?

Like pretty much everything that I write about, there’s a metaphor out there somewhere. Sometimes though, it’s so obscure that even I can’t quite get the correlation without holding my breath for five minutes or more.

Amsterdam BrowniesI can’t wait for my state to enact the Medical Breath Holding Act, as I’m somewhat embarrassed about having to do so illegally. It’s not like breath holding is a gateway tantrum behavior at my age.

I always used to think that Szelhamos would have loved to try a little bit of that medicinal stuff. Funny how it’s not considered medicinal in Amsterdam and Szelhamos did love his assorted baked goods.

Too bad, but at least my kids and I have Amsterdam and you know what they say:

“Wat gebeurt er in Amsterdam verblijf in Amsterdam”

I reached a Tweeting milestone the other day, yet it was greeted with nowhere near the fanfare that Derek Jeter received.

Can you imagine? 3,000 Tweets in barely two months. Yeah, and how many hits did Jeter have during his most productive two months?

Exactly. No one coddled me through the dry spells.

And if it weren’t for some time on the Disabled List, due to a typing index finger injury, I’d be approaching Pete Rose territory. But like Pete Rose, I doubt that I’m headed for the Twitter Hall of Fame. There’s a price to be paid for betting on what Ashton Kutcher will be Tweeting next.

Although the lucky recipient of that 3,000th Tweet didn’t get as much as he was hoping for at the Sotheby’s auction last week, he was still pleased. Imagine the sheer joy of being among those to have an opportunity to read a 4th of July gem like this one, my 3000th:


Spell-check, auto-spell, calculators, e-mail, IM’s, texting, sexting, Twitter.

Slow degradation of the 3 R’s and professional pornography


TweetingIt’s amazing what kind of wisdom you can cram into 140 spaces.

My son convinced me to start Tweeting. Why he did so is still unclear. Although he says that it would help me to promote the Option to Profit book and stir sales, I think that he wanted me to do something that might stave off rampaging senility.

Why you couldn’t have both is beyond me, but clearly he didn’t think things out very well.

As far as the first objective goes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by sales, especially since I really have no friends and an exraordinarily limited and interested family to buy enough books to make me feel fulfilled.

So what has 3,000 Tweets accomplished?

Besides destroying the ability to use prepositions and introducing the concept of substituting numbers for words?

For one thing, it has bought Szelhamos Rules a readership. But what is making me very happy is that increasingly those readers are coming to the site directly, rather than through those obscurely shortened links that originate somewhere in a Libyan domain. The proportion of Twitter referred clicks to direct hits has been steadily changing.

If you know just a little about the various website analytics, you know that site hits are usually categorized on the basis of their origin, being either direct, referred or through search.

Interestingly, the two most searched terms that bring people to the site are “Boston Chicken logo” and “Big Bra sizes”. That just shows you what a wide range of subject matter is covered in the blog.

Being a little more analytical, I can also tell you that the Bra searches predominantly originate in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Mississippi.

I won’t get into details like bounce rate, average time spent on site and average number of actions.

That’s geeky stuff, just like technical analysis.

See. Did you see the segue? OK, ready for it? The metaphor has to do with trading strategy. My facial color is now sufficiently blue for me to see the connection.

Is it really worth all of the call writing activity. Wouldn’t I be much better off with either a buy and hold or an actively traded portfolio.

Following StockTwits as I now do, as well as the trading crowd on Twitter, I’ve learned a little about momentum trading, but when I say “little”, I actually mean “nothing”.

What was once a fairly analytical mind has no patience for learning, understanding and applying all of the charting nuances that these guys seem to enjoy, or at least tolerate for the sake of making some money.

I still have no clue what phrases like “Swing Trader” and “Position Trader” actually mean, even though I’ve done the obligatory Google search.

But there’s absolutely no way that I could revert to “Buy and Hold”. For one, I really enjoy the options income stream, but more importantly, I really enjoy the trading. (See “Feeding the Beast“)

If you did read my book, you’d know that I have admitted to being a terrible stock picker. I may have used the adjective “lousy” to describe those abilities. Instead, I’ve come to rely on a list of about 50 or so stocks that I routinely trade in and out of, not so much on my own accord, but instead based upon whether the shares are assigned.

Occasionally, I do add a new stock or two to that mix each month or so, but it seems to take a while for those to prove themselves.

Why? Because I’m a lousy stock picker. That means not only do I not know a good stock from a bad one, but I also don’t know the right time to buy a good stock.

So the prospect of actively trading stocks alone just probably would work for me. Besides killing the 2% monthly income stream, I have a feeling I’d be seeing lots of capital losses.

Granted, the joy of trading might not be diminished, but somehow I think that the joy is more in the profit than in the act.

It’s not sex, you know.

I do keep a relatively crude spreadsheet that compares my holdings to the S&P 500 and adjusts for withdrawals and deposits, but doesn’t account for different trading strategies.

Compared to the S&P, so far for the past four years, I’ll gladly take those extra few percentage points.

Even though that kind of assessment is abstract, it does calm my frayed “wish I woulda” kind of nerves everytime I think of the ones like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters that got away from me. Oh yeah, and Visa, a couple of weeks ago. 

So is the incessant call writing really worth it?

  1. Sure, it got me a book and even book sales.
  2. It got people reading the blog and even commenting and sending non-threatening e-mails.
  3. It helped me to stop plying my formal trade.

But the real question was is “Tweeting worth it?”

See all of the above.

And so ends the loop that is the metaphor du jour.