This is more of an update rather than a core discussion. By now, investor relations have expressed their collective “meh” for using social media with any of the verve demonstrated by their comrades on PR or marketing teams. Mostly, the IR consensus is that their audience is not using social media as a corporate information point.
The attitude often written in this blog towards IR and social media has been steadfast: it’s a tile in the mosaic of shareholder communications.
To keep on the topic from the headline above, this discussion hits on the SEC’s 2013 guidance accepting social media as a Reg FD disclosure point. This month, there are two wrinkles that have impact on “if” social media is a tool in a corporate disclosure policy:
…has adjusted their algorithm “to help make sure you don’t miss the friends and family posts you are likely to care about, we put those posts toward the top of your News Feed.”
- This means any consistent posting to Facebook is effectively annulled. Facebook is not a linear time-based news feed. You can never prevent – or confirm – that Investor A is not seeing your news before Investor B. This may not be selective disclosure by intent, but is it rather flibberty jibberty.
…has removed Twitter and StockTwits from their newly designed portal. This is disappointing for a few reasons:
- The sheer amount of $CASHTAGGED traffic of your news and shareholder-shared discussions will noticeably drop. Our weekly IPO traffic has already experienced that, as we use $cashtags weekly.
- The “conversations,” although labeled with a social media $cashtag seem to simply be the Yahoo chat boards – which, as always, are ripe with unmonitored pump-and-dump…
- …which StockTwits did not allow in their feed. In fact, they proactively police their feed/portal. Their members are passionate day-traders, not pumpers.
Neither of these two points will have any meaningful impact on most IR teams. However, it does clearly demonstrate that social media platforms are independent businesses – and their businesses are NOT interested in consistent – not to mention simultaneous – disclosure of material information to shareholders.