Fed Eyes Social Media

Social Media Map

Navigating Social Media (Photo Credit: Flickr, Mark Smiciklas)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, largest of the 12 regional Reserve Banks, has issued 44 news releases so far this year.
The subjects have ranged from economic updates and special studies, to the appointment of new officers and board members, to a little publicized announcement last March of a blog launch, Liberty Street Economics–serving as a platform for the Fed’s Research and Statistics Group to share personal insight on current issues, as well as engage in direct dialog with a “broad online audience.”
In addition to pushing information out, however, the New York Fed–also in a scantly publicized notice–now wants to know what is being said about it on social media, and they are seeking bids from monitoring companies to help them.
Fed officials, as recently reported by Walter Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times, want to “get a better sense of the relevant concerns and discussions that are taking place in the public domain in order to enhance and improve…the role it plays in supporting the U.S. economy.”
We advise our clients, almost daily, that it is critical to know what their constituents are thinking and what they are saying, if for no other reason, to react appropriately and address concerns.
For the Fed, certainly much of the findings will undoubtedly be negative because of the state of the economy.  But oddly, word of the Fed’s move has exploded in the political blogosphere, firestorm style, with fears of how the information will be used and talk of Big Brother.
My goodness! Calm down, fellow bloggers, this is no big deal. It’s just old fashioned market research being applied to a new medium.
Ironically, it’s amusing to note that in Hamilton’s coverage, he quoted an executive at New York-based software company ConvergeEx Group, which recently issued a press release about a new product, Spectrum, offering the “power of dark liquidity,” and “the benefits of executing in a diverse array of dark venues” and enabling users to trade cash neutral in the dark.”
Even the best of monitoring companies won’t likely penetrate that.


Roger Pondel, rpondel@pondel.com