StockTwits Gets More Interactive With Conversations

StockTwits is unveiling a new feature called Conversations, which should make it easier to not just track the online discussion about a stock, but to join in, too.

Co-founder and CEO Howard Lindzon says that StockTwits has “always been about context,” trying to show users all the Twitter discussion about a certain stock ticker symbol in one place. However, that discussion can get pretty overwhelming — he notes that the latest Apple earnings report spurred 110 tweets per minute using the $AAPL symbol.

“We’ve got to figure out different ways to keep it focused on the key conversations,” Lindzon says. Twitter has added some light conversation-tracking features, showing some of the context around individual tweets, but Lindzon says, “Twitter just doesn’t work for stocks. We’re finding our own feature set.”

A Conversation in StockTwits is exactly what the name suggests. With the new capabilities, any StockTwits member can start a discussion around any piece of content within the service. There’s a single URL pointing to the entire Conversation, so it’s easy for other members to see what has already been said and then join in, creating a thread that hopefully becomes a focused discussion, rather a largely unconnected stream of topically-related tweets. (Of course, any of the comments in a Conversation can be posted to Twitter, too.)

COO Francis Costello said that the feature should be particularly useful for StockTwits’ publishing partners like CNN Money, Globe & Mail, and Yahoo Finance — now it’s possible for someone looking at StockTwits from a partner site to see the full discussion, making them feel comfortable enough “to enter a conversation across our distribution network,” Costello says. After all, the majority of the StockTwits viewership occurs on those sites.

Last year, the company started to reveal its business model with a product for investor relations. (Lindzon says the Conversations product probably won’t appeal to StockTwits’ IR customers, who are more interested in amplifying their messages through social networks than they are in having this type of discussion.) StockTwits will continue to release enterprise products for the financial community, and it’s building a team to sell those products, Lindzon says.

Other plans included a gradual opening of the StockTwits API, and a bigger emphasis on mobile.