The Social Signal
64 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2022 Last revised: 16 May 2023
Date Written: May 15, 2023
We examine social media attention and sentiment from three major platforms: Twitter, StockTwits, and Seeking Alpha. We find that, even after controlling for firm disclosures and news, attention is highly correlated across platforms, but sentiment is not: its first principal component explains little more variation than purely idiosyncratic sentiment. Using market events, we attribute differences across platforms to differences in users (e.g., professionals vs. novices) and differences in platform design (e.g., character limits in posts). We also find that sentiment and attention contain different return-relevant information. Sentiment predicts positive next-day returns, but attention predicts negative next-day returns. These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between social media sentiment and attention across different investor social media platforms. In the burgeoning social finance literature, nearly all papers examine single platforms; our paper cautions that attention-related results from these papers will likely generalize but results concerning sentiment may not.
Keywords: social media, retail trading, social finance, attention, sentiment
JEL Classification: G14, G41, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation