The Associated Press reports that the Federal Reserve has strapped on its social media wings in order to better communicate with the public. The organization recently launched its official Twitter channel, @federalreserve. While not necessarily humorous or philosophically insightful, Fed tweets will no doubt serve to educate the public on what’s happening with interest rates, currency and other internal workings of the organization.
Short-form financial discussion
Tweets from @federalreserve will generally revolve around a collection of links users can follow to see videos of various discussions and press conferences involving Chairman Ben Bernanke and other significant members of the organization. For instance, a common Fed tweet might be an invitation for the user to watch a video of Ben Bernanke explaining the internal structure of the Federal Reserve. Another might be a text or video report on financial services the Fed offers for mobile devices.
Sources predict that Federal Reserve videos linked to via Twitter will be a mix of current topics and instructional archived lectures.
In the interests of 140-character brevity, the name of the Twitter account is the simplified @fedralreserve, rather than the policy-making panel, the Federal Open Market Committee. The latter name would take up nearly one-quarter of the allotted space for a tweet.
Fed gets 6,000 followers in hour one
Within the first hour of @federalreserve’s existence, approximately 6,000 Twitter users chose to follow Federal Reserve’s official account. Within the first few days, the number hit 16,000, and that number is only expected to grow, as finance-minded consumers look to be among the first to access press releases, speeches and other testimony from the Federal Reserve.
Much of this information, including additional information regarding the current value of the Federal Reserve’s held assets, is released to the public on a weekly basis. Shrewd investors analyze each Fed statement meticulously.
Paulites and their mock tweets
Having a Twitter account will also open the Federal Reserve to some ridicule as the tweets of Ron Paul supporters – followers of the Republican presidential candidate who has called for an audit of the Federal Reserve – ask in jest whether the Fed will be able to limit the figure of the nation’s debt to 140 zeros. Such tweets have proven popular and have been retweeted thousands of times.
Tweeting through the wall of secrecy
Before Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan took control of the organization, transparency was unheard of when it came to its financial dealings. The curtain began to pull back slowly under Greenspan’s guidance. Current chair Ben Bernanke has taken it even further, making transparency a priority. Bernanke and top officials likely won’t be doing the tweeting directly. That job will fall upon the tweeting fingers of junior Fed staff.
Know your Fed tweets
Here are a few of @federalreserve’s first tweets, minus links:
- “Weekly chart showing recent #Fed balance sheet trends”
- “Save the dates: Chmn #Bernanke speaks about the Fed and the financial crisis”
- “Watch a video of Chairman #Bernanke explaining the structure of the Federal Reserve. #fed #economy”
Ron Paul on auditing the Federal Reserve
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