For just $20,000 a year—though most estimates put it even higher—Wall Street bankers and traders can purchase access to the Bloomberg Terminal. At the bargain price, the 300,000+ subscribers receive access to a service that collates data services tracking market movements and trades and, now, tweets about puppies, twerking, steaks, butts, and babies. Also, some financial news.
Bloomberg announced Friday that Twitter will now be incorporated into the terminal service, giving subscribers—most of whom have social media blocked on their office computers—access to 140-character insights from a curated list of “several thousand” news outlets, writers, professional traders, and also Donald Trump. “It just seems like there’s been a tipping point where more companies are using Twitter and other social media to put out announcements,” said Ted Merz at Bloomberg. News increasingly is being broken through tweets, and now Bloomberg’s terminal service allows traders to monitor social media buzz about companies.
The selected Twitter handles selected are jokingly being compared to a VIP list—which Kevin Roose at Daily Intelligencer has partially rounded up. Joining the likes of @CNNMoney, @SenWarren and @Guardian, however, are more unusual, seemingly ill-fitting handles like @Buzzfeed and, yes, @realDonaldTrump. “Bloomberg verified > Twitter verified,” tweeted Joseph Weisenthal, executive editor of Business Insider after discovering that he’s been granted entry into the exclusive club.
There are obvious advantages to the new Twitter access. “More data. More insight. And no more need for traders to keep their phones nearby, just to check what the hive mind is saying about a particular company they are interested in,” says Andrew Nusca at ZDNet. But that means subscribers also will spend their days bombarded with Rupert Murdoch’s ramblings.
The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson had no idea he was on the list until he received a tweet from Roose alerting him to the fact. “I didn’t even know anything about the Bloomberg Terminal,” he says. “If I saw it I’d never have recognized it.” Thompson does cover business for The Atlantic—but what does he think really got him in? “I tweeted a lot about the dissolution of My Chemical Romance,” he says. “And there’s the possibility that people looked at MCR and thought it was a hedge fund and decided to follow me.”
How does it feel to be considered among the Who’s Who of Twitter? “It was an incredible range of emotion,” Thompson says. “First, surprise, followed by humble gratitude. That was followed by a generous amount of generalized anxiety about upping my game because all these guys making more money in a year than I’ll ever make are reading my tweets about Coldplay. And then after that, hoping that I’d live up to expectations.”
The whole ordeal is being met with derision, even among those who made the list. Don’t act surprised. “Mockery is always the Twitter reaction to everything,” says Daily Beast contributor Matthew Zeitlin. (Also on the list! He found out after his friend who works on Wall Street looked him up and called.). That’s especially true when a marker of status is involved. For Zeitlin, the whole idea at once makes sense and is totally nonsensical. “It’s useful because data is published on Twitter first and this gives instant access,” he says. “But my Twitter account is mostly about basketball and why I liked Spring Breakers so much. Now that’s included in a subscription that costs $20,000 a year.”
It is Friday, so we can at the very least thank Bloomberg Terminal for inspiring some solid Twitter comedy:
All kidding aside—it has to feel pretty baller to make the list, right? “Bloomberg verified > Twitter verified” may be a joke, but, at least in the business community, it now has to be sort of true. “This theoretically exposes you to hundreds of thousands of readers,” Thompson says. That’s a lot of influence, whether someone is tweeting about stocks or their Cobb salad. “If I cared more about this and had to make an argument, I’d say that being on the Bloomberg list is a bigger honor than being verified.” Thompson, for the record, is not verified. (This writer, however, is.)
We’ll give the last word to the Beast’s Twitter guru, Brian Ries, who joked about being included on the list but didn’t make the cut:
“Customers of Bloomberg are essentially paying for the curation of information that’s already out there, all available for free. It’s like Twitter for (Paying) Dummies. To make that list means nothing other than the fact some staffer at Bloomberg felt your tweets were relevant for a lazy, tech-averse investment audience and so they threw your account in the pot. But honestly, if any investors out there are relying on tweets from BuzzFeed, Dylan Byers, and slideshow documentarian of economy airlines Henry Blodget, then they are fools who will lose their money.”
Brian Ries, circus enthusiast.