Social networking has spread more rapidly than the bubonic plague over the past ten years, both as a form of entertainment and a way to stay in touch. Everyone and his mother, quite literally, has been infected by this viral spread of technology. If you don’t have at least one Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter account in today’s technological age, you are probably living under a rock in the desert. That being said, you may be wondering what the widespread social-networking craze has to do with Box to Extended, or financial Magic at all? The truth is, almost every well-informed floor trader is well connected into the social media . . . because it makes us money! This article will be delving into the world of keyboards and smartphones to examine exactly how social networking can benefit you.
Living Under a Rock?
Let’s start from the beginning. Do you have a Twitter account? How about Facebook or Google+? If you don’t, what are your reasons? As someone who used to eschew social networking, I can understand your lack of motivation to get started. After all, there are a multitude of options, and with each comes a different set of benefits. You could just go unhinged and join everything, but believe me, it will get old quick. No one wants to open ten different websites each time he checks his messages, so my advice would be to pick a few and stick to those. To start, the only website I would have to push heavily would be Twitter. Of all the social-networking sites available, Twitter provides the most up-to-date, clean, and easy-to-navigate website available. Creating a Twitter account takes only minutes, and now that I have one, I kick myself for all of the information my stubborn old habits caused me to miss before I finally gave in. If you don’t already have one, go sign up . . . now. Seriously. I’ll wait . . .
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You’re back? Great! Moving on . . .
Beyond Twitter, I would suggest signing up with Facebook or Google+ as well. This is less important than Twitter, in my eyes, but still a necessity if you plan on getting into large-scale floor trading. Twitter is great for receiving and providing tidbits of information to profit from, while Facebook and Google+ serve a much different role. The profile sites are rarely used to gather information; rather, use these sites as your actual networking tools. When you meet someone at an event who is a like-minded trader, I always suggest asking for his profile. When you return home and settle in, add the people you have met and create a separate group so they are not bombarded by your personal updates. Instead, use these newfound contacts to conduct business as well as find rides and rooms for upcoming events. One of the biggest keys to becoming a successful floor trader is to network, so let the Internet do the hardest part for you!
Crawling Out from Under the Rock
Now that you have a basic idea of why you should have been on these sites years ago, it’s time to delve into exactly how to maximize your time. Okay, those of you who have been on the social-networking bandwagon can wake up now; it’s time to explain exactly what Twitter can do for you. I will be concentrating on Twitter simply because it is the most useful and commonly the best source of information available. Nothing happens in the world of Magic that someone hasn’t posted about seconds later, which is then reposted until the entirety of the #MTG Twitterverse is in the know. So how do you stay in the loop? You follow people, and not just anyone. You follow the right people.
Before you decide who you are going to follow, sit down and ask yourself what you are looking to get out of Twitter. Are you looking to stay in touch with some friends and perhaps keep up on a few select articles each week? If so, keeping your follow list short will ensure that you don’t miss anything they might post while saving you from having to scroll through an archive to find a post if you do. If you are looking to gather as much information as you can with each login, things change. Instead of picking and choosing, add everyone, and I mean everyone. If someone has anything to do with Magic, start following him, and from there, weed through the dregs and establish a solid base of well-informed Magic gurus. Who you choose to keep largely depends on what information you are seeking and how much non-Magic information you want. Some people will post strictly about Magic, while others will regularly update about the day’s events or some other minorly life-altering event that matters little to the general population. Culling the herd will eventually establish a good group of followed people who can provide you with the exact kind of information you are seeking at a moment’s notice. If you are looking to delve directly into the financial side of Magic or are already dipping your feet in the water, here are some people you should be following:
@mtgmedina: Jon Medina
@THEJRRR: JR Wade
@Chosler88: Corbin Hosler
@AllSunsDawn: Mark Sun
@chasandres: Chas Andres
@CryppleCommand: Ryan Bushard
These are the bigger names in the trade business who post regularly. There are many more out there who even I don’t know about, so—like I said—follow everyone you can and later unfollow those who just don’t fit your taste.
Twitter is for more than just gathering general information from the players and traders. I will regularly see trades conducted on Twitter that can streamline the process of MOTL or eBay and, in the end, save both parties hassle and headache. If you are looking for a difficult-to-find card or price, just post it on Twitter or @ one of the many well-informed traders, including me, to track down the information or product you are seeking. Even posts such as “Looking for X, willing to pay Y” will usually draw attention if the prices you offer are competitive to a buy list. People love to unload cards for a buy-list premium, which can then save you money from having to pay full retail somewhere else. Getting the word out can be tricky, however, for the new Twitter user; this is where hashtags come in so handy. Using “#” before keywords such as “MTG” will ensure that the information is spread to a greater audience, which in turn can gather you both information and followers.
Now that you have the basics in mind, I’ll leave you to explore the wonderful world of social networking. Just remember that like anything on the Internet, not everyone has the most reliable information, so make sure to take what you find with a grain of salt. Over time, you will learn to discern the information that can be helpful to you and discard the rest without a second thought. The Internet is only as helpful as you make it, so learning to piece together the puzzle is the key to financial social-networking success.
On to other news of the real-world ilk: I got a few solid trades in this past weekend at Michigan States. For anyone who was there, I hope you were able to navigate the crowd that PES so poorly anticipated and did well—or at least had a good time.
−1 Mirran Crusader 5.99
+1 Elvish Spirit Guide 4.99
+1 Goblin Warchief (Duel Deck) 2.99
This was a small trade that acts as a perfect example of using the events you’re attending to make a profit. In this case, there were a few solid Humans lists and other -based aggro lists running around that perceived Mirran Crusader at a higher price. Asking for commons and uncommons, no matter the value, usually makes people less hesitant to trade older cards for Standard cards.
−1 Chandra, the Firebrand 17.99
−1 Sword of Body and Mind 12.99
+2 Daze 2.99
+4 Mayor of Avabruck 4.99
+2 Daybreak Ranger 3.99
+1 Stensia Bloodhall 0.75
+1 Stony Silence 1.99
+1 Howling Mine 2.99
+1 Jedit Ojanen 1.49
+1 Sivitri Scarzam 0.49
+1 Lord Magnus 0.75
+1 Mindshrieker 2.99
I didn’t realize during the trade how significantly this was in my favor, but after looking up the prices, I realized a lot of the prices were also overinflated based on playability. I picked up a lot of one-ofs for the eventual quest and also managed some solid Standard cards that are currently highly sought-after. These types of trades are very common when trading expensive mythics for rares and something to watch out for from both ends.
Well, that’s all for this week. Last week, I asked for a few ideas on how to spend the money, and although I did get some responses, I believe I should have been clearer. I am looking for some detailed ideas on how to spend the $200. For example, pretend you had the $200 yourself and were looking to profit the most from it in perhaps a creative way—what would you do? I will hold off on announcing the winners until next week to give everyone another week to answer. Please be creative and detailed; this is one of the larger stepping stones in the project, after all.
@CryppleCommand on Twitter