The SEC Embraces Twitter–And With It Social Media

Those who yearn for regulated financial services organizations to participate in social media are intrigued by the SEC’s recent activation of a Twitter account. (A so-called “microblogging” platform, Twitter imposes a 140-character limit on users whose posts provide answers to the question “What are you doing?” For a basic introduction to the concept, see the Common Craft You Tube video or the Twitter entry at Wikipedia.)

So far, the SEC’s use of Twitter has been a tad tentative. As you can see in the screenshot below, the “tweets” are synopses of official press releases as opposed to insights on what the SEC is actually doing in real-time.

But what’s encouraging is the commentary that accompanied the SEC’s first public use of Twitter. Twitter was front and center at an August 19 press conference on IDEA (Interactive Data, Electronic Applications), ”  billed as “the platform for 21st Century Disclosure” to succeed what the SEC called its “1980s-era EDGAR database.” According to a live blogging report by FT Alphaville (a Financial Times property), Chairman Christopher Cox was quizzed about mashups and Twitter and responded that the SEC intends to take advantage of social media “as quickly as we can.”

Marketers at broker-dealers and investment management companies will appreciate side notes by two participants in the liveblogging:

[Comment From Blackhorse]
Twitter’s API makes it pretty easy to archive.

[Comment From James]
Twitter would be a form of e-communication, and if you are a B/D or RIA, you have lots of issues to consider.

Most intriguing is the quote attributed to Cox: “The SEC has to be just as functional, and just as technologically adept as any corporation today.”

If that’s the attitude at the SEC, what can we expect to start to see from FINRA-and which regulated companies will be in the lead to experiment?

P.S. Twitter is absolutely something financial services marketers should develop their own comfort with. If nothing else, use Twitter’s search capability to see what’s being said about your company. Sign up for regular alerts using TweetBeep.