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Death by Blogging?

There is an article in the NY Times today called In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop . The article talks about the immense pressure bloggers (especially technology bloggers) face keeping up with a 24/7 demand for information. And cites two well-known tech bloggers who recently died. Now the piece does focus on people who are 'blogging for dollars' rather than those of us who take advantage of the services of Finextra to offer our two cents on in the world of financial technology. But one thing about the article did strike me. It says bloggers are facing extra pressure to produce the latest news, as well as the news which will generate the most views. Quoting from the NY Times: "Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad revenue."Now we all know in our new world of algorithmic trading--milliseconds mean millions. But bloggers and journalists are not algorithms. They are living, breathing people.--Should milliseconds really mean life or death for an online news item?Before my recent incarnation as a research consultant I worked as a journalist for 13 years. The pressure was always on to get a news story out before your competitors. (fair enough--the definition of news is 'something you don't already know'). But often the need to be 'first' won out over the need to produce a story that was well written, well researched and well sourced. My question to the Financial Technology Universe is this--What attracts you to news on a blog or on the web? Is it more important that one blog posts 'milliseconds' before another? Or are you looking for blogs that have a certain type of analysis or even depth of research?And if anyone of you advertise on online sites--which qualities are rewarded with ad dollars?  

 

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Comments: (7)

Elizabeth Lumley
Elizabeth Lumley - Girl, Disrupted - Crayford 07 April, 2008, 16:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes I have to admit I did think of you when reading the article! One glass of red wine should protect most super-blogger's hearts, I say.
Brennan Carley
Brennan Carley - Proton Advisors - New York 08 April, 2008, 15:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As in market data and trading, the answer is "it depends".  What it depends on is your objective.

 

i.e. If you are running a stat arb fund and creating alpha from short-lived market innefficiencies, then you will trade in and out of a position many times during a day, so milliseconds matter, and a market data system that is 100 milliseconds behind is a BAD thing.  But suppose you have a long-term strategy based on (for example) investing in companies that are undervalued, undercovered, but where the secular trends in their market favor them and they have good management.  You may accumulate a position over many months and hold it for a year or longer.  Then milliseconds don't matter.

 

So too with blogs or any news source.  What are you trying to achieve?

 

If I am trading on news, then seconds matter.  For example, if I know that Apple is going to miss their quarterly numbers by a lot, and I know that before the rest of the world does, then I can trade on that.

 

But if I am trying to understand the long-term impact of Google's Android on Apple's iPhone revenues, then I am happy to wait days or weeks for a well thought out analysis of the market for mobile platforms.

 

Elizabeth Lumley
Elizabeth Lumley - Girl, Disrupted - Crayford 08 April, 2008, 17:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting point about trading on information from online news or blogs. But I think that issue may move into the concept of machine-readable news which can be used with algorithimic trading systems.

Aren't blogs, by their nature, more analyical? Shound't there be a distinction between online news, real-time market data news and blogging? Or are the lines becomming blurred?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 08 April, 2008, 19:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thanks for your take on this. The article just fueled my dislike for the NYT.

To your question "What attracts you to news on a blog or on the web?" I would say this: The blogger's perspective. Personally, I don't care if the blogger publishes the "news" first or last. I care about what his/her take on the news is. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 April, 2008, 17:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Liz

I have to say too many BLOGS are a waste of time with nothing really to say other than boost the ego of the BLOGGER. Quips are fine on occasions but the ammount of rubish posted against quality ideas or thoughts is just staggering. There should be more quality control on BLOGS by the publishers

Steve Ellis
Steve Ellis - Finextra Research - London 17 April, 2008, 12:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good question.

Most bloggers aren't really about 'new' news. Not with a new generation of hybrid online news sites/blogs (paidcontent, finextra) and more spontaneous services like Twitter for simply news breaking.

With blogs, for me, its always about the perspective of the individual and common interest areas, building trust in that person's analysis, viewpoint, style, sense of humour.

In essence a blog is a micro-branding exercise for that individual. Which - as Gary points out - is as often negative, as it is positive.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 April, 2008, 13:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

A few blogger figures:

According to the BIGresearch Simultaneous Media Survey, 26% of all US adults say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of those:
  • 53.7% are male
  • 44.7% are married
  • 28.4% hold a professional or managerial position
  • 10.4% are students.
Analysis of Bloggers shows that they are using most forms of new media significantly more than the average market, but magazines still rate high as trigger for searching etc.