THE PUNCH: Why have a trusted adviser when you can consult Facebook?

by |

Can I share a secret with you? I really don’t like Facebook. Is that very Gen X of me or very un-Gen X? I am confused.  Most of my friends are completely in to it, posting family photos, blogging on about their latest trip to Fiji or skiing in New Zealand, updating their status to let the world know what they’re having for dinner. It’s riveting stuff, truly.

My mum communicates with her grandchildren on Facebook. They think she is the coolest Nan on earth and I’m just so “last millennium”. She is now in the habit of phoning me to tell me if she thinks I should check one of their pages. She usually tells me what’s happening in their lives before they do. They all think I’m crazy when I talk about the seriousness of PUBLISHING, privacy and about the richness of good, old-fashioned one-on-one communication.

I feel so alone and isolated in my anti-Facebook world. They laugh when I tell them it’s not real and potentially dangerous. I “just don’t get it”, they say. I am hoping to find some allies within the Wealth Professional readership who will be able to empathise with my horror when I read an article in Wednesday’s Financial Review with the headline “Investors turn to social media for advice”.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I yelped on my crowded commuter train. Surely people are not that gullible!

“Social media is now influencing the way people invest,” the article proclaimed. “Almost one-third of 1000 individuals aged 18 to 65 surveyed…used some form of social media to research their investments.”

Apparently business websites are a bit old-hat as information sources. Email is still preferred but “social media in the form of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, videos, podcasts and mobile apps” are becoming popular.

Assuming it’s a representative sample size then that survey by communications firm Interactive Investor and Nine Rewards indicates that 10% more people use social media for investment advice than those who go to professional, licensed planners.

I really don’t want to ask my mum who is helping with her retirement planning, just in case her answer is some guru she chats with online. Heaven forbid.

Can you see my dilemma? I know social media is where the action is. I consider myself an expert online communicator but I really don’t want the world to know my life story in minute and second-by-second detail. And I sincerely believe people are certifiably insane if they’re making investment decisions on the basis of social media communications.

So professional advice givers of the world, please, hear my call. If you’re not already doing so, it’s time to start blogging, tweeting and, unfortunately, Facebooking. The masses need your help, now. And if there’s anyone else out there who hasn’t updated their Facebook status since 2004, I solemnly promise to start taking this phenomenon seriously…maybe tomorrow. 

  • Clint Moar on 17/06/2012 4:00:27 AM

    You're right Jackie, the "social" is a phenomenon that ain't goin' away.
    I agree with you about FB. I don't get it either, but I've learned that we must use it to our advantage, not the useless knowledge (dumb updates only make people look dumb). I think we must find a couple or few online channels to really focus on and others to just be available.
    No offense, but, "professional" advisors have NEVER gotten me ahead financially. I've been multiple times Bitten, so forever and always I'll be Shy.

    Thanks for the great post.
    Clint Moar.

  • Edward Graeme on 15/06/2012 10:36:24 AM

    Please stay just as you are Jackie. By the way, were I seeking new clients, it wouldn't be from among those who've sought advice in the social media world.

WP forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions