For the past few months, I’ve been collaborating on a new media tool called Twediction. It is a way to make, share and track predictions via Twitter. If you can show you’re good at it, people might follow you. But at the very least, you’ll be able to share your ideas about the future and see what others think. If you’re like me and you spend more time following interesting feeds on Twitter than Tweeting, it’s a way to stop being a Twitter wallflower and get engaged in the news you care about – and perhaps unleash your inner Nate Silver. (He’s about to relaunch his rebooted 538 under the aegis of ESPN).
So, for example earlier today, Felix Salmon, Reuters’ ace financial blogger Twedicted that Bitcoin will trade in a range between $200 and $1350 this year. More people disagree, so far, than agree, which means that the “price” of the Twediction had fallen from a starting point of 50 to 31.82 by noon. If you agree with Felix’ prediction now you can “buy” it using 31.82 points. If it turns out to be right, you will win 68.18 points (100-31.82) when his Twediction closes on January 1st 2015. If $BTC exceeds the range predicted by Felix, you will lose your 31.82. If at any point you regret your decision, you can cut your losses. It’s all explained in the How it Works Section. The more points you win, the higher your Twedictor level, the more impressive your predictive power. (No money changes hands on Twediction. Our points currency is purely virtual.)
Or if you’re not so interested in competing, you can simply be provocative and test your hypotheses, like @AndrewStuttaford, the fearless National Review contributor, who Twedicts the Republicans will hang on to the House this November and that David Cameron won’t be Prime Minister after the next general election in Britain. Given Andrew’s intellectual horsepower and vigorous debating style, who would dare disagree?
You can take the long view, like the former Newsweek editor and polymath Tunku Varadarajan and predict the Chinese will boycott the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, or the short view and look ahead to the #Superbowl with the WWE’s Paul Heyman.
We’re also going to be gathering up predictions made by media figures and creating a market for them on Twediction. We did this with Gary Kasparov’s predictions during the recent World Chess Championships. Now, watch out Jim Cramer and Byron Wien! We’ll be taking your financial predictions seriously and seeing if they come true.
It seems news is now breaking down into reporting, opinion and prediction, and we hope to be a vibrant part of that third category.
The business genius behind this idea is Mike Paolucci, who also runs Slooh, the wonderful community observatory which brings the heavens to your computer. Our crack programmer is Yung Lin. My job is to think about this from a news and media perspective.
Please do take a look, try it out and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear any and all feedback – we’re trying to adhere to the Lean Start-Up rules of frequent iteration in search of product/market fit.