Twitter & Facebook vs Newsletters & Conversations

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For those that know me, you will know that I love conversations.  I really love conversations that involve the exchange of ideas, and I am always looking for conversations with experienced professionals where the exchange ends with my understanding the world better.

In the early years of Actuarial Solutions Inc. I wrote some newsletters (now online).  The effort was intended to provide clients and prospects with information and ideas to help them think about pensions and the decisions they needed to make.

A few years back, my friends Jose and Alan redesigned ASI’s website.  At that time, Alan persuaded me that we should restart the newsletter effort in the form of a blog.  It has taken me some time to get the hang of it but I am putting something up about once a month – which to me is a frequency that I can manage and one that doesn’t overwhelm the readers on our mailing list.  Who has time to write or read a daily blog?

As President of Actuarial Solutions Inc., I am charged with allocating scarce time to non-billable efforts.  The ‘experts’ in social media all urge that I spend a portion of that time engaging with the world on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

I am now on Twitter @JoeNunesActuary.  With 20 tweets and 37 followers under my belt, I am still a rookie but I have spent enough time to say that I just don’t get it.  Does anyone really care to listen to my stream of consciousness in 140 character instalments?

As for Facebook, I don’t have a personal account.  Of course I have heard of Facebook but I have just never had the time or interest to open an account and keep my ‘friends’ up to date on the daily happenings in my life (this just in….apparently I do have a personal Facebook account –  not much action there of course).  I have a handful of friends from University that I see and email from time to time – I can’t imagine doing much more than that.  I know employers are worried about employee productivity and I sure get that worry.  If everyone has to spend hours a day keeping up on what everyone else is doing that is time not spent doing something productive.  The theory is that if I am on Facebook then prospective clients that are friends of my friends will somehow find me if they need an actuary.  I am skeptical it will help and I am reluctant to spend the time to find out.  Maybe this works for real estate agents and retailers – but for an actuary?

What I do believe in is getting together with people and actually talking.  My list of people that I like to visit is well beyond the number of visits I can make in a year – so I am trying to develop a better way of staying in touch with everyone that is more proactive and less reactive.  I also still believe in sharing ideas which has transitioned from the newsletter to this blog.  People who know me and think there is a worthwhile exchange can sign up – and those that don’t much like the discussion can unsubscribe or delete on a case-by-case basis.  Pretty efficient if you ask me.

Finally, I like LinkedIn.  The rolodex of the 21st century, the Twitter for more substantial contributions, and the forum for likeminded folks to congregate electronically.  To me, this is the social media hub that makes the most sense for business people.

So, the question is, what do you believe?  What is the best way to stay connected?  Are Twitter and Facebook personal tools or are they truly valuable to business people?  And is it all business people or just a selection?

Joe Nunes
Joe Nunes
Joseph Nunes, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Actuarial Solutions Inc., has practiced in the area of pensions and retiree health plans for over 30 years. He has experience with many types of plans including single-employer, multi-employer, private sector, government, unionized, non-unionized, as well as registered and non-registered executive plans.


  1. Avatar Shawn says:

    So what convinced you to join twitter? More to follow news than send your own out? I don’t understand the value of twitter for a business myself it seems more geared to breaking news organizations and announcements from things like government to get the news out. The only thing I would say is I wouldn’t use it as a brand for ASI but more as a personal connection to you, the president.

    As for Facebook I think it really depends on your business and maybe yours isn’t suited well to the medium. I think it’s useful for certain services again though for the latest news or updates on say hey, these are the lunch specials today … or for example I follow a local micro brewery, they post pics each week of what they brewed and have in stock for the weekend, handy. I’m sure they tweet that too but the number of people on FB is quite a bit more than Twitter(approx 5 times). It might be a useful marker to have a presence on FB and you could just post your blog as a status once a month. It’s not any more time consuming.

    Who has time to read a daily blog? I know lots of people who read daily blogs but it’s like reading the news for them (and me)… who has time to write one might be a question.

  2. Avatar Jules says:

    Joe and Shawn, I agree with your comments. (Perhaps I should retweet them?)

    As a finance professional (a public accountant, rather than an actuary) I see the value in these new tools, but… I’m still wrestling with how to use them.

    My colleagues will tell you I’m a dinosaur, but I’d rather pick up the phone to connect with people. Facebook, bleh. Works for some, not others. I’ve had to explain to a couple of clients that it may not be the best medium to use when sending me financial information.

    I see two uses for tweeting and blogging:

    – Reminding people that you exist, and keeping a small connection going that builds your personal brand. This requires carefully crafted thoughts, not spur-of-the-moment blurting…. but less of a time investment than a full-blown newsletter.

    – Quick reminders that help my clients keep on top of things(“Don’t forget – tomorrow is the deadline for filing xxxx”), or technical updates (“The government has just changed this [tax credit etc.]. Call us if you think it could affect you.]

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