Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A lesson about what you read on blogs...

The other day, being silly, I copied onto my blog a phishing email, purporting to be from a business well known to those who use the internet, which was named in the phishing email, and so named in my post.

The point of my post was first to mock the phishing since I hadn't ever done business with that particular company, and second to acknowledge the creativity of threatening legal stuff by purporting to quote from the company's own legal materials (I didn't actually check the quotation. It's enough of a pain to double check quotations in my own writings!).

Anyway, I could tell from sitemeter that I was getting a lot of referrals from a certain search engine's finance page, and those referrals (and there were lots of them) lead me to believe that there are people who "research" investment information by looking at blogs.

You know that liberal arts education thing I talk about sometime? Well among the things I hope my students get from their education is an ability to evaluate source material for information, and to recognize potential biases in sources and information.

So, to those who read blogs for financial and investment information, here's some totally free advice from someone with a fairly extensive education: people write blogs for self-interested purposes. Me, I write about Shakespeare and Chaucer and stuff. You should read more Shakespeare and Chaucer.

That statement is pretty self-interested, because the more people read and love Shakespeare, the better for people like me. If everyone read lots of Shakespeare and begged for more Shakespeare lectures and performances at every venue imaginable, and endowed chairs at every college and university for Shakespeare studies, well, then I would be one quite happy Bardiac.

So, when you see information on a blog that tells you to buy buy buy stock A, you should consider whether the source 1) actually knows anything about stocks, 2) has an interest in selling stock A, 3) or has some other interest which might bias them as a source of information, or 4) would be stupid enough to share really lucrative information of that sort without making money off it. (Which, seriously, is why I have all sorts of doubts about get rich quick investment schemes of all sorts: why would anyone with a lick of sense share the scheme???)

As I was thinking about writing this post today during my bike ride, I had a naughty idea of starting a brand spanking new blog, to be called something "creatively witty and brilliant to do with stock purchases and finance" and putting total BS up there about various companies, along with a disclaimer statement that nothing on the blog was to be taken seriously at all, and that it was a total and complete joke. Then I'd put a sitemeter thing up, and watch the hits roll in!

I reconsidered when I thought about the effort to actually come up with a "creatively witty and brilliant [name] to do with stock purchases and finance" and about the danger that someone somewhere would decide that my disclaimer meant that I was really someone with inside knowledge trying to cover my tracks so big investment firms wouldn't realize their info was being scooped for the whole danged internet to see! Then they'd invest, and because my blog would be total gibberish, would lose everything, having taken loans out on their children's kidneys in order to invest in whatever company I mentioned that day. And, as you might imagine, I don't want that on my conscience.

I will, however, still gladly advise one and all to read (or watch, either in a theater live or on film, or listen to a book on tape!) MORE SHAKESPEARE and CHAUCER!

There you go. Free blog advice from the internet. Remember, in general, you get what you pay for. If you feel this has been valuable advice, please send a donation to your favorite local charity or institution of higher learning and tell them Bardiac sent you!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, great idea, glad you didn't waste your time on the new blog.