09/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Twitter: Fortune, SEC Discover The Web Craze

Fortune is trying valiantly here to translate Twitter into the language of its readers, but there's only so much one magazine can do with a start-up that fits this description:

Only in the tech business are companies born with neither a clear reason for being nor a clue as to how they'll produce profits. Then again, rejoice: The U.S. financial system may be imploding as you read this, but the Bay Area startup culture is alive and well. Oodles of Web startups are gaining traction which makes this a good time to examine the star of the class.

Eventually, Fortune gives up:

And what do Twitterers twitter about? Anything at all really, from the quotidian ("I'm hungry"; "going to bed"; etc.) to the substantial ("wildfires are spreading"; "Hillary just conceded"). Like a lot of Web 2.0 applications, the best way to understand it is to just try it out.

If Fortune's attempt at bringing Twitter to the moneyed masses isn't discouraging enough for its Web-hip users, our friend Michelle Leder at also noted that the SEC -- author of her favorite reads, of course -- now has a Twitter account (name: SEC_Investor_Ed):

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across one of Twitter's newest members: the SEC. (Of course, if I was up to date on my RSS-reading, I would have caught my friend Barry Ritholtz' post on this from last week, but since it's Q season, hopefully I'll be excused for being late to the party).

Now before you get all excited about learning something -- anything -- juicy about one of the three new commissioners, I'm here to let you know that the SEC's Tweets are pretty bland: essentially a compressed version of the press releases that are available on the SEC's site. It's not really clear why only some of the press releases are Twitter-worthy and others -- like this one on the SEC stopping a tire recycling scam - are not. Also interesting is that the SEC joined Twitter the day before it announced new guidance on corporate websites. However, a quick skim of the 47-page guidance turns up no mention of Twitter.

It doesn't really get more square than 140-word SEC press release teasers, so it's pretty safe to say that Twitter has jumped el sharko. As for us, we'll go back to one corner of the Internet that knew Twittering was cool before Twitter did: Four Word Film Reviews.