In my amateur understanding of hedge funds: the goal is to reduce risk and maximize returns by investing in assets that move in the opposite direction. The magic is in finding the complimentary assets.
A very simple example: if you see long term growth in the US stock market – a hedge would have 50% of your investment in the bond market, for stock and bonds prices often move in the opposite direction.
How does this metaphor extend to social media?
I’ve got a couple projects that would be interesting within a service like Twitter and I’d like to hedge my investment (development time). The question is – where are the complimentary assets?
Or, who wins when Twitter stumbles?
If people stop sending messages via Twitter – where does that communication flow?
Facebook? WordPress.com? Movabletype? Tumblr? Posterous ?
Maybe. While they all offer a similar capability – they fell to similar (private, hosted, silos) to be complimentary.
WordPress.org – feels closer (free, open source, well documented, mature API). But, I have a hard time imagining people mass-installing WordPress in their own web space after having everything taken care of for them.
My favorite answer so far: Email.
What would your Social Media Hedge Fund portfolio be made of?