eBay Tweets

According to a study conducted by the Society for New Communications Research, Fortune 500 companies chose to use Twitter more than any other social media channel in 2009. Although Twitter was found to be number one, the study also recognized that Fortune 500 companies have increasingly adopted corporate blogs and podcasting.

One of the first companies to utilize Twitter for financial communication was eBay. Corporate blogger, Richard Brewer-Hay was hired by eBay in the beginning of 2008 to implement the use of social media throughout the company. Brewer-Hay began a corporate blog and Twitter account allowing stakeholders to receive informal, yet up-to-date and valuable information about eBay and its activities.

Brewer-Hay continues to tweet updates on financial information for investors and shareholders who might find this communication helpful and relevant. In this Tech Crunch article, Brian Solis states that in January 2009, Brewer-Hay began tweeting eBay’s quarterly reports as they were announced.

The use of Twitter for disclosing financial communication raised some concern amongst eBay’s legal team. For this reason, Brewer-Hay is now required to provide disclaimers along with his tweets containing financial information. Followers of eBay’s Twitter have complained that his tweets now are just statements from executives and lack the informal, personal tone they once had.

Lisa Wood of the Foley Hoag law firm, offers her opinion in the Wall Street Journal article. Wood believes that financial matters should not be communicated through social media sites unless it has already been made available elsewhere.

Do you think companies should be able to fully disclose financial information? Or should there be some legal guidelines?


5 responses to “eBay Tweets

  • Laura Pond

    In my opinion, eBay has been a highly influential company in the past few years. It has altered the huge array of items that can be purchased online, and allows purchasers and buyers to connect in communicating about an online product auction.

    When I looked at Richard Brewer-Hay’s Twitter link from this post, I was expecting to see only valuable eBay financial data, but instead I saw Tweets about daily life and thoughts. The article you cited from the Wall Street Journal is excellent because it not only ties in the eBay financial social media debate but also discusses the SEC.

    I appreciated you highlighting a company that a large audience is familiar with to discuss on your blog.

  • Chelsea Brooks

    I think you make a lot of good points here. I have come across eBay’s corporate blog before and it is a very successful and informative blog. Unfortunately your link to Brewer-Hay’s twitter has no affiliation with eBay. The link takes you to Brewer-Hay’s twitter but it is affiliated with something called Elisabeth Street Brewery.

    However, I think I agree with Lisa Wood that financial matters should only be addressed via social media if it is already released traditionally. I know that relationships with shareholders can be improved by using social media, but I don’t think the important financial information should be disseminated solely through social media.

  • Dominic

    Why is Lisa Wood’s advice good? She says only previously public information should be disseminated via social media.

    Why shouldn’t information be disseminated via social media at the same time as traditional channels?

    I think you should question the advice rather than take so much at face value.

  • Sarah Bruton

    I sometimes get the impression that companies are doing a lot better than what the news reports say about our economy. When i see financial reports that are in the millions, to me that sounds good, but then again if i have more than 2 digits in my bank account I think I’m doing good. For those who do know how to read financial reports, especially their employees and clients, it will add to a company’s transparency.

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