In the early hours of this morning, Twitter announced a new function of Twitter, not too dissimilar to how we use hashtags. The new feature means you can now click on company ticker symbols to see the conversation around their stock.
Simply precede the symbol with a dollar symbol and it turns into a link to search results, as Twitter demonstrates in the announcement:
— Twitter (@twitter) July 31, 2012
The feature is insignificant for the average mainstream user of Twitter, who may not own stock or find any interest in the trials and tribulations of the market. But for banks, investors and any company floated on the stock market, this is an incredibly powerful way to drill down to the public debate around the stock they care about most.
But it isn’t new. In fact, I’d hope that stakeholders have been listening to Twitter for quite some time. The use of a dollar sign before stock was used long before Twitter’s announcement, thanks to @stocktwits – arguably the most important Twitter account for any financier to follow. And while they may have taken offence at the move, it’s not unusual for Twitter to learn from the way the community works. Just look at how hashtags came about.
So this is a wake up call. If financiers have not been listening so far, then start now. The power of Twitter is immense; it can point to the overall feeling of shareholders or even highlight when influencers step out of line – but being aware of the conversation, having the tools Twitter have given us to listen and the power to respond… well, it’s better than how it was before.