Following central banks on Twitter

One way of keeping track of central banking stories is to follow the updates central banks post on Twitter.

An increasing number of central banks have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, using the social network to highlight their press and statistics releases or scheduled events.

A survey by Central Banking Publication, quoted by Bloomberg, showed that the number of central banks with a Twitter account rose by seven to 72 last year. Also, people are increasingly using Twitter to monitor central banks.

The number of people following the top 10 monetary authorities on the social-media website jumped 51 percent to just over 2 million in the year to mid-October.

Such numbers are dwarfed by the 80.7 million who follow singer Katy Perry and the 68.3 million who track President Barack Obama.

Fair enough, "just over 2 million" central bank watchers on Twitter globally equals "just about" the population of the city of Paris.

That is not much on first sight. But for those truly interested Twitter feeds of individual central banks, when aggregated into a Twitter list, provide a very handy one-stop-shop to track what is going on in the world of central banking.

But Twitter may actually be not only useful for central bank followers, but also for central bank themselves.

According to another Bloomberg story, at least the US Federal Reserve has studied whether data collected from communications on Twitter can improve the accuracy and timeliness of their economic forecasts.

The goal is to shorten “the time lag between what is happening and what your understanding of that is,” said David Stockton, the Fed’s former chief forecaster who is now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.