The SEC discovers Twitter…

August 7, 2008

So far, I’ve managed to avoid picking up a Twitter habit, the popular micro-blogging platform that many of the cool kids use. It’s not because I’m stubborn or unwilling to adopt new technology. It’s because most of my updates — called Tweets — would look something like this: “Reading SEC filings” or “Still reading SEC filings”, with an occasional break every now and then for “hiking with my dog”. And I’m quite sure most people can go about their days without that level of detail.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across one of Twitter’s newest members: the SEC. (Of course, if I was up to date on my RSS-reading, I would have caught my friend Barry Ritholtz’ post on this from last week, but since it’s Q season, hopefully I’ll be excused for being late to the party).

Now before you get all excited about learning something — anything — juicy about one of the three new commissioners, I’m here to let you know that the SEC’s Tweets are pretty bland: essentially a compressed version of the press releases that are available on the SEC’s site. It’s not really clear why only some of the press releases are Twitter-worthy and others — like this one on the SEC stopping a tire recycling scam – are not. Also interesting is that the SEC joined Twitter the day before it announced new guidance on corporate websites. However, a quick skim of the 47-page guidance turns up no mention of Twitter.

Maybe it’s just a matter of limited resources. Perhaps, the SEC can include a separate line for updating Twitter the next time it asks Congress for more money. Still, when government agencies start tweeting, it seems like a sure sign that the cool technology has jumped the shark. At least there’s still Plurk.

UPDATE 8/8: In the comments below, I’ve posted a brief Q&A with John Nester of the SEC on the reasons why the agency has started Twittering.

Image: AODesign

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