Microsoft Sponsors Exec Twitter Site

As Twitter, Facebook and other social-networking solutions grow in size, they have been seeking out viable avenues for earning revenue.

Twitter has announced the launch of ExecTweets, a site sponsored by Microsoft and designed to push “Tweets” from some of the nation’s most prominent executives to Twitter users.

Visitors to the ExecTweets site, launched this week, have granular control over the industry whose executives they want to follow, as well as the option to follow particularly hot topics or most-popular executive “twitterers.” For example, if a user wanted to follow Steve Case’s daily “Tweet,” they could find him under “Most Popular.”

Microsoft is sponsoring ExecTweets for an undisclosed sum. Federated Media, an advertising firm founded in 2005, built the actual site. Despite scepticism from those such as eWEEK writer Joe Wilcox, the companies are enthusiastic.

“There are over 100,000 C-level executives on Twitter today but it’s difficult to know how to find them, which to follow, and where the most important conversations are happening,” Matthew Dipietro, director of marketing for Federated Media, wrote in a blog posting on his company’s site. ExecTweets filters those conversations and then provides them to Twitter readers “all curated and aggregated into industry verticals like Healthcare, Retail, Finance and more.”

On Twitter’s corporate blog, the startup took pains to demonstrate that ExecTweets was much more of an external collaboration than an internal development.

“Twitter is contacted regularly by brands interested in sponsoring innovative experiences based on topics of interest,” Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, said in a corporate blog posting. “However, our focused commitment to Twitter itself means we don’t have much time or resources to build these interesting topical experiences.”

For Microsoft, ExecTweets represents one component of a larger marketing activity.

Microsoft is sponsoring ExecTweets as part of its “It’s Everybody’s Business” campaign, seeking to “encourage conversations within the business community,” according to a company spokesperson. The company claims it’s experimenting with a number of digital marketing activities over the short-term.

“At the campaign’s core, we want to drive a set of marketing activities that facilitate a conversation,” Gayle Troberman, general manager of advertising for Microsoft, said in an email. “ExecTweets is consistent with that goal – it’s about finding, following and engaging in real conversations with business thought leaders.”

Twitter has been integrating itself further into the enterprise life. The service now has roughly 8 million unique users, up from 1 million in 2008.

On 23 March, announced that it was adding Twitter to its Service Cloud, a SaaS solution, alongside Google search, Facebook connections and online communities. Twitter would allow users to better monitor the adoption and discussion of products and services.

However, the growing pervasiveness of “Tweets” throughout workplace life has also led to its own set of problems, notably with regard to personnel making comments probably better not seen by their employers.