There have always been professionals associated with brokerage firms that make their living from trading, but it wasn't until the last decade, with significant advancements in technology, that the average investor had direct access to the markets. Live data feeds and extensive global news coverage fans the flames for the novice trader and allows almost anyone to take advantage of the alternative investments arena such as commodities and foreign exchange.
The only real problem with the information superhighway is the masses of irrelevant data, which can distract and distort the judgement of even the best professional traders. Trying to remove the 'noise' and not overload your sensory system is an essential skill of the master trader. Ideally a skilled trader will learn to pay attention to what is important, filter the signals from the noise and appreciate that patience is virtue. Learning to remove all emotion from your trade decisions is also essential.
If you are serious about becoming a trader and accessing the alternative market space, trade for a living or simply diversifying your portfolio, then you really need to hone your skills from an educator who can show you the essentials.