There is no denying the fact that the social networking site Twitter has exploded into popular culture this year. Unique visitors to this popular domain has grown over 225% since January (19,443,286 unique visitors in April 2009). While wading through the different applications for this type of information sharing, one offering in particular really caught my eye, StockTwits. StockTwits is an open community of investors that share advice and information about real time trends in the market. Many members of the community go so far as to give details on trades they are executing as they happen. At this point, it is good to point out that I dabble a bit in the investment arena so you can imagine why this would be so intriguing. In the investment arena, information is a valuable commodity so getting free advice from professionals synchronized with market conditions is an attractive proposition.
This sort of information sharing service seems a perfect fit for the Twitter model as both thrive on real-time data distributed on a massive scale. From the graph below it is apparent that StockTwits is still in its infancy stage but even through a short amount of time has experienced tremendous growth.
As StockTwits grows it will be interesting to see if other companies within the investment community try to capitalize on its success. Through Twitter, StockTwits already has over 70,000 followers, a number that is likely to increase quickly in the coming months. A site like this that fosters a large community of active investors would be difficult to ignore. Looking at the destination data for April 2009 it looks as though one investment firm, Scottrade, is already gaining traction from the success of this emerging social media site. Even though the volume may seem low, it is still very early in the game for StockTwits and there are plenty of opportunities for a company to target this growing community.
The level of growth StockTwits is experiencing is not surprising given the fact that people are always looking for advice on how to grow their money. Therefore, a service that provides up to the second market information for free is most appealing. The one caveat is that this information can be given by virtually anyone so the value of the data can be called into question. One way StockTwits alleviates this concern is through its Recommended List which highlights key contributors with a track record of success. For those serious about getting the best advice, StockTwits allows members to upgrade their service to include exclusive feeds for a monthly or yearly membership charge. By catering to both the savvy investor and casual traders (myself included) StockTwits has set itself up for continued growth and success using the Twitter platform.