Twitter signaled its intent to reach out to the investor community with the launch of its ‘cashtag' feature this week.
Much like a hashtag, the cashtag feature allows users to place the $ symbol in front of a ticker symbol to share information about that stock. Clicking on the symbol will lead to a page of aggregated search results for the stock and company.
While the cashtag is new for Twitter, a similar feature already exists on StockTwits, a financial communications platform for investors. StockTwits says on its website and Twitter handle that it created the $ prefix for stocks and to organize market information into streams for investors and analysts. The platform can also be integrated with social networks including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
In a blog post, StockTwits CEO Howard Lindzon criticized Twitter for “hijacking” the company's idea:
"It's interesting that Twitter has hijacked our creation of $TICKER i.e. $AAPL. It only took four years to ‘fill' this hole, though a few months back they told me in a detailed email it was not a hole they wanted to fill. You can hijack a plane but it does not mean you know how to fly it… StockTwits moved beyond that basic functionality 4 years ago."
So far, StockTwits offers a stronger platform to the financial community because it filters out messages including the ‘$' symbol that are not about investing. On a site as large as Twitter, it's easy to see how spam could become an annoyance. Also, major websites such as CNNMoney, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Yahoo! Finance include StockTwits' streams on their ticker pages.
Still, cashtags are sure to encourage more investors and analysts to turn to Twitter as a resource, and it wouldn't be surprising if the social networking giant continued to improve upon this feature.