This article in the NYTimes discusses a site called KaChing [here].  It’s an online service that combines investment management information with social networking properties .  Users manipulate virtual portfolios as a means of gaining insights into and advice about how markets work. Today, the site will add a new feature that allows users to peg and copy expert trades.

Customers can set up brokerage accounts that automatically mirror the trades of a money manager, some of them professionals. […] Each time the investors make a trade, KaChing will automatically make the same trades for the customer.

KaChing’s founders claim that allowing expert trades to become this transparent is a unique form of information sharing.

“The idea of an asset manager showing all his research, his holdings — it’s unheard-of,” said Mr. Carroll, now 27 and the vice president for business development at KaChing. “In the financial industry, the idea is that information is currency; they protect it with their lives.”

This raises questions about what exactly it means to share information:  Isn’t knowing a trade – that is, the moves an investor makes – different from knowing the reasons for the trade?  And if there are, indeed, different modalities of information sharing, what would be the differences in the types of networks/economic agents these would produce? I find myself searching my bookshelf for Gabriel Tarde’s The Laws of Imitation (Les lois de l’imitation)