Lest you underestimate the effects of social media, consider this: Institutional investors are relying on it, along with conventional financial news media, to shape their investment decisions

That's right. According to a study from Greenwich Associates titled "Institutional Investing in the Digital Age: How Social Media Informs and Shapes the Investing Process," nearly 80 percent of institutional investors consider social media part of their regular work flow, and around 30 percent say social media-provided information has played a role in their investment decisions or recommendations,

Greenwich studied 256 corporate and public pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, and foundations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and found that about half of the respondents said information they received from social media spurred them to take specific action.

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