At the beginning of the week Jeff Gundlach, founder and CEO of bond giant DoubleLine, announced he was joining Twitter.
Two weeks earlier Ray Dalio, head of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, started tweeting.
Twitter was once largely ignored by Wall Street. Half a dozen years ago there was a tipping point as more traders discovered it as a source of breaking news. Bloomberg integrated Twitter in 2012. The SEC approved tweets as a form of “disclosure” in 2013.
Now we are seeing something new: the heads of big investment firms posting. Following Trump’s example, they are not delegating the “messaging,” but posting directly. Their example will likely encourage others.
The fact that the tweets appear on Bloomberg terminals, which sit on the desks of hundreds of thousands of financial professionals, helps ensure they are visible to traders as quickly as reporters. Tweets by Gundlach and Dalio both generated scores of articles.
It matters that people like Gundlach and Dalio are participating because personality is the lifeblood of social media. That can be seen in the number of people they attracted compared with their respective firms. .
By Friday, Gundlach had more than 19,000 followers. That’s three times the 6,049 followers for his firm, DoubleLine, which joined Twitter six years ago.
Dalio has accumulated more than almost 27,000 followers. He set up the account in 2009 but didn’t use it until April 24. Bridgewater only has 2,342 followers even though its been tweeting since 2013.
Gundlach, who said he was tweeting to respond to inaccurate media coverage, wasted no time in making his voice heard. The style and tone made it clear these weren’t being written by someone else. Here is how one tweet appeared on Bloomberg.
Bridgewater is known for Dalio’s view that performance benefits from the “radical transparency” inherent in taking a hard look at a variety of viewpoints. His posts reflected that sentiment.
Both Gundlach and Dalio generated a considerable number of comments. Dalio mentioned it in a tweet, seeming to enjoy the feedback.
Gundlach’s handle @truthGundlach may be a nod to Trump’s @realDonaldTrump or it might have been an awareness that publishing on Twitter often spawns copycats. Dalio has already had that experience with @fauxRayDalio.
By the end of the week they had both posted the exact same number of tweets, 15.
Gundlach focused mostly on how reporters had mis-covered his comments at a conference.
Dalio alternated between musings about being on Twitter and shout-outs to other articles. A notable exception was a post showing his support for former FBI Director James Comey, who worked at Bridgewater for several years.
Its unlikely Gundlach or Dalio will keep pace with Trump, who has tweeted on average 12 times a day for the past eight years. But their presence will likely increase the awareness on Wall Street and encourage their competitors to join them.