Today, Federated Media launched a beta of ExecTweets, yet another way to sift through the vast amounts of data coming out of Twitter. This time out, as the name would imply, the focus is on the Tweets of executives (77 currently, see a full list on the ExecTweet About page). This is a bit different from most similar sites which sift data based on content rather than origin. The other big difference? ExecTweets is sponsored by Microsoft and has official buy-in from Twitter (see Check Out ExecTweets on the official Twitter blog). The web is buzzing with speculation that this is the first sign of Twitter's plan to generate some revenue.
The Executives are grouped into several verticals (Government and Education, Healthcare, Retail, Techology, etc) and you can drill down to follow only the Tweets within one of these verticals. Adding a bit more to the datastream, ExecTweets let's you 'vote up' a particular Tweet, and the more votes a Tweet has, the more exposure it gets on the site. Again, details are hazy...how is timeliness factored in? That's not clear at this point.
It is also unclear how the executives covered were chosen, but users can nominate others by (you guessed it) sending a Tweet to @exectweets, the official Twitter account of the site. That nomination, of course, will be seen by everyone who follows you, and I'm sure Federated Media & Microsoft would be thrilled if some of your followers learned about ExecTweets from seeing your nomination tweet. It doesn't seem like executives are "opted-in" to inclusion on the service, given that there are "Don't want your tweets on this site?" instructions at the bottom of the page.
ReTweets seem to be filtered out, but @replies are included. You can reply to the execs from the site, but your replies also go to @exectweets. Once again, building their brand via your input. Hmmm.
It'll be interesting to see how much value this site produces in the long run. It seems telling to me that in ExecTweet's "Hot Topics" tag cloud, the most prevalent term is, of course, "Twitter." "Nominate" is close behind, as these execs all try to get other execs in on the goods. Interestingly, "#iomccer" ranks high in the cloud, but as far as I can tell only one exec, drval, used it. She just happened to post a long string of tweets using that hashtag today. You'd think there'd be some kinds of controls in place so one member couldn't swing the tag cloud like that.
Are executive Tweets really valuable enough to justify a dedicated site? Wouldn't it be just as easy to simply follow the execs we're interested in? I guess we'll find out after ExecTweet has a few days to percolate. As of right now, the most popular Tweet on the site is from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and it is a quote: When a door of happiness closes, another opens. Often we look at the closed door, we do not see the one that’s been opened. - Helen Keller