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?