EULA/DISCLAIMER: Shalin Mody is not responsible any financial loss the reader of this post may incur. Consult a professional before investing.
DO NOT INVEST IN HYPE - DOING SO ASSIGNS FALSE VALUE TO THE COMPANY! Remember Enron...it probably won't get that bad, but you do start to travel down that path.
I've been following financial news since I was ~10yrs old (yes, seriously), so I consider myself a knowledgeable investor of the "get the ground truth and put your money where you're mouth is" variety. Unless you're a professional that understands financial markets and assigning value to a company, my personal recommendation is:
a) don't day-trade (currently, China is having big problems with millions of misinformed investors doing day trading just to make a buck...er, yuan)
b) Keep a stock purchase for at least 1 year (1-2 years is considered a "short term" investment, 2-5 years is considered "mid term", 5+ is considered "long term")
c) don't buy into stocks just to make money - put your money where you're mouth is. Aside from increasing your value of your investment, the company may be a bastion of great management, innovation, etc. that you wish to promote.
d) Considers socially responsible mutual funds, if interested.
d) talk to a professional stock broker about some of your investment ideas - I've always talked about potential investment purchases with a professional first...regardless if I took their advice or not, I still got some good insights.
e) even high performing companies can have a HIGH RISK of faltering if a major element is no longer with them - example, Steve Jobs leaves Apple.
I'd been toying with the idea of getting Apple stock over a year ago - I could kick myself for not having gotten it...just like I could do the same for many other stocks, but I haven't. I'm not quite ready to promote the company through my investing. Example: I got the ground truth on some flash memory companies, liked there management, liked their product, invested, waited/monitored for over a year, and sold it had a healthy level higher than what I bought it at.
However, being in a democratic/capitalistic country - for those fanboys/fangirls out there, if there's something you see in the financial numbers and the company itself that is worth investing in, go for it (w/professional guidance). Certainly, buying their products is one way to put your money where your mouth is, but if you'd like to do more, consider responsible investing.
More info on investing:
On June 29 (the day the iPhone came out) Apple's Stock went up Approximately $13.30 up from being around $117.00 to around $132.00. This is probably from all of the people in line to get a iPhone on the first day but friday it went back down.