THIS week, StockTwits alerted its followers to the presence of Kinross Gold Corporation on Twitter and StockTwits.
Cool, I thought, another company that groks the utility of putting a $ sign in front of your ticker symbol ($HPQ and $ABX also do it).
But when I went to the Kinross website and clicked on a link to follow the company on Twitter, up popped the following alert (emphasis added):
“You are leaving the Kinross Website and Kinross is not responsible for the content, accuracy or timeliness of the website to which you are being directed by this link.”
This is a classic “exit disclaimer” that lawyers consider best practice (regulators don’t actually require them) when a company links to third-party content.
But here’s the thing: how can they disclaim responsibility for tweets that they are writing themselves? Clearly, they can’t. The exit disclaimer does not apply.
More to the point, Kinross is responsible for all of the content, accuracy and timeliness of its tweets.
With respect to timeliness, I noticed that the link to Twitter on the company’s IR homepage is placed in a box under a heading that says “Alerts & Information.” In the same box are links to the company’s email alert utility and its RSS feeds.
This clearly suggests to any reasonable person that Kinross is using Twitter as way for investors to receive accurate and timely alerts from the company. That’s the expectation they’re setting.
Kinross seems to get that timeliness is important for alerts because on its RSS feeds page, it makes this claim (emphasis added): “Subscribing to an RSS feed means that you will receive new content in real-time, without having to continuously visit a website.”
In real time. They get that timeliness is important to investors.
But here — again — is the thing. RSS is not real time. Yes, it’s possible to set up real time RSS and Atom alerts with Pubsubhubbub or RSSCloud, but I checked and Kinross’ feeds aren’t using either of those methods.
They’re using classic pull instead of push, so the typical delays will be somewhere around 30 minutes, or whatever interval users’ feed readers are set to poll the feed.
Which brings me to why I’m bringing this up. I’m not trying to make anyone look stupid. I’m trying to help prevent everyone in IR and social media from looking stupid.
There’s a lot of this sloppy stuff going on right now on the social web, and it’s a problem for those of us who want companies to adopt new technologies, but do it properly.
When something goes wrong, all the IROs and lawyers who are looking for any excuse to stay off the social web will have their told-you-so poster child. We shouldn’t make it so easy for them.
Originally posted at IR Web Report Bits