Positive. Negative. Bullish. Bearish. Doesn't matter. Apple brings home the bacon, fries it in a pan and then photoshops it into a human rights' avatar that goes viral on Facebook .
As director of Social Media (or the Hey boy, Tweet this for me NOW guy) at TheStreet, I have the numbers to back this up. Apple generates more traffic, interest and response than anything else with the exception of beer, sex and, sometimes, sports.
And a peanut gallery has formed around this company and stock.
I'm not sure I have seen the dynamic get much worse than it has with Apple. It was close with a stock I was dead wrong about -- Sirius/XM -- and three companies I have been more right than wrong on -- Netflix ; the artist formerly known as RIM, BlackBerry ; and Facebook.
They're all battleground stocks, but none of them, save the classic example -- SIRI -- have formed the type of peanut gallery Apple has.
Folks rush to the defense of Apple with a flavor of rabidity only paralleled by outrageous responses to encroachments against their favorite sports team. Just check the comments section of Tuesday's Apple Has Fallen So Far Its Sad.
To restore my faith in the sanity of humanity, I often recollect data from my talk radio days: Less than one percent of the listening audience actually calls into a talk show. The numbers show that an even smaller segment of the readership comments on an article. We're talking like 0.08% of the audience comments, even on wildly popular articles that generate what "feels" like tons of reaction.
And it's nice to get feedback like this Tweet:
I don't mind the criticism. Doesn't faze me much. Because I know the score. Plus, I fully realize, for whatever reason, people tend toward providing negative feedback, but keep quiet when they might actually have something nice to say.
What really concerns me is that a few of the most ardent members of the peanut gallery community -- and others like them, the larger crowd we rarely, if ever, directly hear from -- might actually invest in AAPL. More power to the ones who have profited, sit on unrealized gains, haven't lost much or will come out a winner. But I'm really worried about the ones who allow emotion and calls of a bottom in AAPL to strongly influence -- and often cloud -- their otherwise better judgment.
I'm not trying to pick on TheStreet contributor Ernie Varitimos. He wrote the above-linked calls of a bottom article, but has he ever heard of Andy Zaky?
If you haven't, read this piece from Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt: The rise and fall of Andy Zaky. It's painful to read, but it warrants another look. Serious stuff.
In one breath, Varitimos says . . .
In the next he tells you how the little guy can get an "edge" like the big money does, but provides his "Apple alert with the caveat that
But, man, it's quite the offer: Here's the answer to the burning questions regarding investing and the biggest battleground stock on the market, but, you probably shouldn't do anything with this knowledge. In fact, Leave it all on the table, not just that last 10-15% of gains referenced before the "caveat."
It's exactly this type of emotionally-laden rhetoric positioned as analysis that took so many down -- costing real people millions upon millions of dollars -- as AAPL topped $700 and many of the same permabulls were calling "tops" several hundred bucks down the road.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
The little guy, the retail trader, is always the last to hop aboard a rising stock, grabbing only the last 10-15% of gains before topping out, and the last to get out as things crumble, and so they bear the brunt of the decline . . .