Web 2.0

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I love to see partners, like IBFX, putting social media to work for Forex traders. Today, IBFX announced a pretty cool new Facebook app that they'll be showcasing at the Traders Expo in Las Vegas later this week.

According to the press release, "Available through the Interbank FX Facebook page, this new application will facilitate Micro Mini Picture 42Challenge participants to connect with Interbank FX and their fellow traders through Facebook—allowing winners to tag and share their photos and winning certificates."

The Facebook app is a great idea. Why? Well, Facebook is all about leveraging your social graph, an intricate map of how people are related (socially, that is). People typically connect with other people on Facebook based on a common thread. For some it might be friends they went to high school with, others might be family dispersed all over the world, still others business groups and colleages. That's the power of a social graph. It can combine all of these different people based on how they're related.  These IBFX traders all have a few things in common - 1) they're Forex traders 2) they won this contest and 3) they use Facebook. The idea of giving these traders a fun and unique way to communicate and collaborate is what makes social media such an exciting strategy for brokers and financial firms alike.

“Our Micro Mini Challenge is a fun way for traders to engage in friendly competition,” said Marilyn McDonald, Vice President of Customer Experience at Interbank FX. “We at Interbank see the growing trend for traders to incorporate social media into their trading strategies, and we’re excited to facilitate a social connection between our Micro Mini Challenge participants and our Facebook page.”

We are excited to have hundreds of Forex traders and members as Currensee fans on Facebook and an integration with Facebook in the Currensee dashboard. It's an exciting way to connect with other Forex traders and we give the new IBFX app two thumbs up.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

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This is the first in a series of guests posts celebrating Currensee's launch into public beta.  Hillel Fuld is Content Manager of DailyForex.com, an online Forex trading portal.  You can connect with Hillel on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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If you have been paying attention to the latest trends that have people talking, you will definitely have heard the words “Social Media”, “Twitter”, “LinkedIn”, and “Facebook” mentioned in one context or another. Unlike many trends which have come and gone, experts believe that not only is social media here to stay, it will soon reshape the future of online and offline communication.

Many international corporations are turning to social media for their customer support, as well as marketing campaigns. The fact of the matter is that traditional marketing tools such as billboards or newspaper advertisements simply do not reach as broad or as targeted of an audience as Twitter does. Using social media, you can distribute an article, a promotion, or any other type of message to an unprecedented number of relevant people, and track precisely how many of them saw it, and what was the result it triggered.

While the hype surrounding these new tools is continuing to grow, so is the number of people who find them overwhelming and are completely lost when it comes to using them. If we are taking Twitter as a case study, the amount of people that create an account, send out one tweet, then never access it again, is disproportionally high.

Even worse than people who do not understand how to use social media, are the spammers who abuse it. Twitter is filled with false accounts that are simply individuals trying to promote and sell their product by sending out the same message continuously. These spammers do not partake in any sort of dialogue, and some of them are actually not even run by humans, but rather by what is knows as bots, that simply send out messages automatically at a certain interval. Clearly, this is not what it is about.

Any Twitter user knows that one of the most common types of spammers, are Forex Twitter accounts. In fact, a quick Twitter search for the word Forex will paint a very clear picture of what kind of Twitter accounts exist that are tweeting about Forex-related topics.

Anyone with a little common sense can put one and one together and realize that the potential for cooperation between traders in the biggest global financial market and the most powerful social tool we have ever known is much greater than this. The problem is most people do not have a clue how to make this synergy work properly.

Moving over to the professional social network, LinkedIn, a different and more subtle problem exists. LinkedIn is not flooded with Forex spammers, in fact, LinkedIn is not flooded with Forex anything. There is close to no Forex presence on LinkedIn. If you search for Forex groups for example, you will find that although Forex has close to 3 trillion dollars traded daily, there are no more than 20 groups for Forex traders on LinkedIn. Very few online Forex brokers take advantage of LinkedIn and the powerful platform that it offers professionals. The same applies to Facebook, the potential is there, but it is not being fulfilled by Forex traders, brokers, or businesses.

Now that we have concluded that the major Forex players are not using social media to its full potential, how can that be fixed? The following is a list of some of the first steps every Forex company should take in order to start realizing the potential social media offers.

  • Full Transparency on Twitter: Create a real account with the name of your company, state who you are and what you represent as part of your Twitter bio, and post a real picture that can be your company logo, but NOT a picture of a fake person in order to attract more followers.
  • Genuine and Relevant Tweets: Do not tweet about getting rich fast, or how much money you have made from Forex. The people following you should already be interested in Forex. Share interesting content whether it be news, market analysis, tips, or interesting trading statistics. Do not tweet the same thing more than a maximum of three times throughout the day. It is true that there are different time zones and people are not going to see all of your tweets, but those that will, will not be happy seeing the same thing tweeted ten times.
  • An updated and informative LinkedIn Profile/Group: It does not matter how you go about it, whether you have a representative of the company create a profile or have a company group, you will need to have a LinkedIn presence of some sort. LinkedIn is where all the professionals hang out, and if you consider yourself a professional Forex entity, you need to be there too.
  • Facebook Page/Group: There is an ongoing debate which is more effective on Facebook, a page or a group. One thing is for sure, not having either one, will get you nowhere. Raise the awareness of your company on Facebook. Create special promotions for your page’s fans or the members of your group. Encourage people to join and communicate with other traders with their level of experience. Make your Facebook group or page into a useful resource for traders around the globe.
  • Stay on Top of New Developments: The social media space is continuing to grow and evolve with new social networks starting all the time. If you intend on participating and being an active part of the online community, you need to keep your fingers on the pulse of the Web 2.0 world at all times. New projects like Curensee might be the perfect community to learn from traders like yourself how to improve your trading skills. With all the lack of transparency caused by the anonymity of the Web, a platform that gives your real time access to the actual trades of your friends might be exactly what you need.

In conclusion, social media is the most game-changing communication tool the world has known since the invention of the telephone. It is now pretty much a given to all online experts that it is in fact here to stay and leave an unprecedented mark on the world of global communication. Forex, which is by far, the largest financial market on the globe, as well as a safe option for many people in today’s troubling financial times, should be maximizing the potential of social media instead of wasting everyone’s time and money spamming users and hoping someone will take the bait. Forex companies should start by implementing the above steps, which will not only bring them positive results, it will improve the reputation of the Forex industry as a whole.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex.  Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

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Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Intuit will acquire the free online personal finance service, Mint, for around $170 million. The deal, which should be announced in the next few days, puts Mint in a new league. As TechCrunch's Michael Arrington described it, "This is a terrific exit for Mint, which first launched two years ago at TechCrunch50. Mint took the top prize at that event and has been growing fast ever since." Growing fast, eh? Let's talk about explosive growth. I'm talking gaining 3,000 new users a day and jumping from 600,000 to 850,000 users in a matter of months. The best part is that Intuit didn't believe the numbers and sent Mint a threatening letter demanding an explanation for the user sign-up success.

I guess Intuit got the answers they wanted given today's news. I can see exactly what they see in Mint. As Rob at Regular Geek points out, it was born in the glory days of Web 2.0 and comes without all the baggage of Web 1.0 software products. Where Quicken is desktop-like, heavy and complex to use, Mint uses light graphics and is focused on spending against a budget versus the dull and overwhelming focus on bill payment and tracking. They've done a lot of things right with the Mint product and have made personal finance accessible and and even fun for the average Joe.

This acquisition bodes well for those of us in the social trading and investing space.  It shows that a serious player like Intuit finds tremendous value in the product and the users of an innovative Web 2.0 company. It proves that breaking the model of the way trading, investing and saving have always been done creates market opportunity, revenue opportunity and innovation opportunity. What a great way to start a Monday. Congrats to the Mint team on this exciting accomplishment.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex.  Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

 

 

Currensee Investing Solutions:

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

It seems we are encouraged at a young age to share. I am constantly telling my 2.5 year old to "be a good sharer" and "share with other people so they will share with you". But, let's face it. Sharing is just not natural. It's learned and not everyone get's on the sharing-means-caring bus.

I'm a good sharer. I love to share food - put a bunch of different plates in front of me and I'm in heaven. I always share my last piece of gum and I will let you borrow my clothes as long as you promise to bring them back in the same shape you borrowed them in (yes, I know). But it wasn't always like this. Back in the day, I was a horrible sharer. So bad that I wrote the word "PIE" on all of my things - Baby Alive, Malibu Barbi, Easy Bake Oven, Raggedy Anne - PIE, baby. Why PIE? Who the hell knows. Pie is yummie, I guess. So, if it said PIE, it was mine. My sister remembers this phase fondly and didn't give a crap about PIE and tried to use my stuff anyway. It wasn't a pleasant stage. Well, luckily the PIE-phase passed (though my mom still has the dolls with PIE written across their foreheads) and I am the sharer I am. How did that happen? What changed? I am sure there are a bunch of you behavioral psych folks out there who can tell me why it changed, so come on and let us in on the secret.

For the rest of us, let's fast forward to the here and now. So, along comes Web 2.0. The "social" era. What's it all about....you betchya, sharing. Photos, profiles, music, friends, walls, lifestreams, hobbies, resumes, tweets, videos the list goes on. What makes some share and others adamant PIE-er? Here's my $.02.

1. Privacy. This is probably the biggest reason. A fellow colleague (who will remain un-named) will not disclose a photo of himself to anyone but his immediate family. I completely cannot relate but it's his right to keep it to himself. I often wonder - is it the worry of what could happen if said photo hits the net and is used to begin stalking him? Or is it something simpler - perhaps a discomfort with putting yourself out there. I've even heard of the suppressed "Catholic Guilt" theory. In any case, people have their own reasons and for that they get the PIE stamp.

2. Time. Many of the non-sharers I talk to say it's a waste of time. Who has time to share photos or tell people what they had for lunch? Well, then, how do you explain the droves of people on Facebook and Twitter? They have time. Some of them, yes, too much time on their hands. Others, like me, juggle a million different things and social media is just a natural part of the day. Like checking my email or sending a text message or getting my latte. It is how I live.

3. Aversion to change. Can't teach an old dog new tricks. This is true with the people out there who just can't change. These are also the people who say they have nothing to say. Everyone has something to say. Come on, people! These are also the people who don't see the value in sharing, they don't care and they'll argue till the death against it. To them I say, bleh.

4. Generation. Age definitely plays a factor. How many of our parents are on Facebook? or iLike? or Twitter? or FriendFeed? My guess is a very small percentage. My 60 year old uncle sees Facebook as a privacy disaster waiting to happen and a good way to start a high-school girl fight (he's a high school teacher). My dad is still trying to figure out how to upload his photos to Snapfish and send me an email to tell me I can view them. Then I see some of my friends' dad on Facebook and wonder, would I want my dad seeing me out on the town partying it up? Hm, not so much.

5. Lifestyle. There are people out there who just aren't in the know. Yes, I know, dear reader, it's hard to imagine. I have a friend from high school who just got email. Yes, I said email. It's beyond me but some people just don't have the lifestyle desire to get on the technology or the sharing bandwagon.

So, what does all this lead to. Well, if sharing is caring, what does what you share say about you? Are you a frequent Facebook status up-dater or are you more of a lurker who is present but not participating? If you’re a sharer, sharing1what’s the quality of what you share? People are fickle. They want to be engaged and entertained. When your posting, writing, uploading - think about the quality of your content and what it says about you. If you’re a sharer, take the quality of what you’re sharing to the next level. If you’re still in PIE-mode, come on now. Maybe you can take a baby step. Try out a social media site and see what it’s like to connect with a few new people or find out something new about someone you already know. Sharing makes you a contributor. The old way of learning was very one-dimensional. Now, I learn every day thanks to social media and people who share. New websites, products, ideas, personal updates - I have the ability to take it all in and decide how to use it. That makes me smarter and that makes me happy. Be smart. Be happy. Be social.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex.  Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.