It’s truly a humbling experience to be writing this. Reflecting back on the last four years, I am still in awe about how far TrendSpider has come over such a short period of time. I never thought we would have the need for a social media policy—at least not for several more years.
At this time last year, our Twitter account had around 10,000 followers. A few days ago, we crossed the 62,000 mark—that’s well over a 600% increase in just a year! When measured across all social media channels, we can now reach nearly 200,000 people with a single post. That, to us, is both an honor and a matter that deserves serious thought and contemplation to make sure that we are, as they say, doing the right thing.
So, I wanted to take a moment to discuss our influence in the trading community and our responsibilities to the community. As I mentioned, we recognize that if we post a chart to social media, thousands of people may see it. That’s kind of the point of posting on social media in the first place, after all. What I want to make sure is clear is our intent and reason for posting charts. We do it specifically for two reasons:
- Passion for charting. We love trading and we love charts. This is not work for us, it’s fun. We’re looking at them all day anyway.
- Show off the product. We want highlight the most innovative features in our platform with real life scenarios.
But here’s the thing…
No matter how many times we say “not investing advice”, some people will blindly jump into trades when they see a chart without doing their own homework. We do not condone that type of lazy trading, but we realize it happens. That’s important, because many of the team members at TrendSpider are active traders (myself included) who are actively trading on a daily basis(unlike most software developers in the space).
That creates the potential for a conflict of interest – or maybe just the appearance of one, and we want to avoid any possibility for that.
So with that goal in mind, we are formalizing our internal social media guidelines and making them public here. The goal of these are to help guide our team when posting charts on social media as well as lay out for all to see how we look at this and what the rules are for our team members.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
The following is TrendSpider’s new “Transparency Policy”. All employees who post to our social media accounts must agree to it:
No using company social media to initiate, promote or post about securities that you are currently actively trading or directly managing a position in.
No employee of TrendSpider will ever initiate posting a chart to any of TrendSpider’s company accounts (on any platform) about a security that they personally and directly manage a trading position in.
That includes me (Dan), Jake and everyone here who has access to our social media platforms and can post on behalf of the business. If you are interested in following our individual trading journeys, I will put a list of our handles on Twitter below. Example: If I just purchased AAPL calls, I will NOT post any AAPL charts from @TrendSpider until after that position is closed.
If I want to share my personal trade with the world, I might post some from my personal account instead, @danushman. But, I will not post it from the company account. This rule applies to retweets, too. If you see a tweet from our company account, it is our goal to make sure that our visitors know that there is no potential for a conflict of interest in it.
Why did we opt for this? Well, because if I am long AAPL, it is because I think AAPL will go up! My personal opinion could really skew my analysis, and I could lead people astray. In order to keep my emotions and bias out of the TrendSpider account, I just won’t post any charts I am trading there.
The other reason is this: some of us (myself included) love to trade micro caps and small cap stocks. Sometimes these assets are not liquid. I don’t want anyone to think we are pump and dumping a stock because we posted a chart for a small cap company that later raged or crashed.
Clear disclosure of positions where appropriate.
If someone requests a chart during a chart request session that the host has a personal trade open in, then that will be clearly disclosed at the time of the discussion.
Example: If Jake buys puts in MSFT, then, later that day, someone tweets @TrendSpider to request a chart for MSFT and Jake happens to be the person to respond, he will clearly state in the tweet that he, Jake, has a position in that symbol that he is currently directly managing. This disclosure will include the bias of the position (long or short) so you know that Jake may be looking at it from an upside or downside perspective so that the viewer has a clear sense for the bias of the chartist fulfilling their chart request.
Clear disclosure of positions during The Trading Pit episodes and other video content, including guests.
On our video shows and webinars, in particular, but not limited to, The Trading Pit, we will clearly disclose any directly managed trading positions we have in any symbol that is discussed, and we will ask our guests to do the same. Viewers should know if we are discussing a stock we are actually trading or not.
Why did we do this?
Our goal is to provide helpful educational content that highlights our software rather than directional buy sell recommendations. That said, if we own the security we are discussing, our biases will undoubtedly bleed through into the post. We don’t want that to happen.
We don’t want our account to turn into a trade alert service where people just blindly buy or sell what we post. We don’t want to lead anyone in the wrong direction, and we want to maintain neutrality in our posts so that they are not biased by outside, personal factors.
It’s about building trust and being transparent.
Well, while we can only speak for ourselves, we really think that every popular trading related account that posts charts online should make a similar pledge. We’re talking about all influential accounts.
Because, together, we can make the online trading community a better place — but only if we are honest and transparent.