Friday, December 18, 2009

Chaff and Twitter

I have been using Twitter to search for information on the results of the Copenhagen Cop15 meeting, but in particular for price direction information.

I broker emissions credits for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUAs, or European Union Allowances).

And when the ONE got up to speak I decided to watch the various comments coming from people who were there and those who were watching (although it is difficult to tell them apart).

The Risk was to the upside in my opinion, meaning that there was a sell off in the last day or two and its like a tightened rubber band, waiting to snap back if Obama said something really good re an agreement. But since he didn't, the move down was enforced, so to speak, and the tension went out of the rubber band.]

The really difficult thing to judge is who really has a good grasp of the situation. There are many vested interests on both sides politically; there are many people who are only vaguely familiar with the subject; there are many that are only politically vested and have no idea of this particular item that their hero/nemesis is speaking about and blindly follow/criticise what they say.

So today I am watching the market price move up a bit as Obama speaks and then the comments from people in the audience come flowing in from people in the audience. Imagine all those people typing on their PDAs and phones.

But the result was basically negative: "no agreement without verification" would be the simple one line summary, with perhaps the addendum: "he ain't gonna get that".

Still, it was interesting to follow Twitter by using the twitter search page and watching these two terms "Cop15" and "Copenhagen" - and ALSO using Tweetdeck.

The problem is that there are so many tweets coming in and there still is no way to figure out who is telling the most accurate fact-based news. The CNN breaking news twitter page was singularly inaccurate, and dare I say it, so biased ['There is "no time to waste" on climate change, Obama tells summit.']. Presumably the CNN hack read the text, and put out an optmistic comment - in the MIDDLE of his talk. Considering that might be the only thing that many Americans would wake up to, I consider that to be close to criminal.

Another thing is that the only way to get credible information is to know ahead of time who would be there - and are not so biased - and are witnessing it live. Sure I have heard that you can use Twitter for other breaking news events such as the boy that was supposedly trapped in that balloon scam, and you hope you are getting something like a comment cloud of accuracy but again, in that case you are only being referred to what the cable news is putting out.

Its best for 1)Live events, 2) from people who are there, and 3) from that you trust. Otherwise, you are stuck sorting through the chaff. I look at profiles (quickly) when read a tweet and decide if they are on one side or the other. No very accurate but all you can do. I read one that said roughly "the enviros in the press club are dissapointed with Obama's words" and took that to be a pretty good one.

Since I was watching prices and speaking to clients, I told them, this is the comment and then this is why I think its accurate.

All in all, kind of interesting. The prices are falling. Climate change agreements are not to be had this year.

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