An “exclusive social media site” is an oxymoron. Social media is about sharing and not excluding.
Exclusivity is something that cannot be advertised for those excluded should not know what they are missing and those who are included are there by right. The sports personality awards are not exclusive as they are shared by the nation, being a sports personality is exclusive, it is earned.
Those who have earned their exclusivity earn more respect when they give that exclusivity up and share themselves. This is the very opposite of snobbery and something I most admired about our Olympians this summer.
Earlier this week I learned that one of the social media sites I belong to operates a “tight walled garden“. I am told this means it excludes the majority of people who want to come in so that those inside can go about whatever they go about, in peace.
My views on walled gardens were coloured by a short story by Oscar Wilde – the Selfish Giant. My father used to read it to us at Christmas along with “the Happy Prince“. He used to read them to all the children at my church as a children’s address. His theme was that the Giant was Selfish because he kept the children out of the garden – selfish and sad. It was only when a child climbed into the garden and showed him some love that he woke up to the fact that gardens are for sharing. After that he let all the children into the garden and he was unselfish and happy.
The social media group I mentioned earlier, excludes a substantial proportion of the pensions “industry”, journalists, PR people, recruiters , insurance people and IFAs but includes the blue bloods – trustees and managers of pension schemes and institutional advisers – lawyers and accountants and actuaries.
There is a regulatory divide between retail and institutional investors which is used as the reason for having “a tight walled garden”. The divide is between those who can cope with the complexities of institutional investment products that include derivatives that are high risk, and those who can’t.
But the use of derivatives in pensions is confined to a tiny number of organisations relative to the 1,200,400 companies which will be running workplace savings schemes. I really wonder whether the site which claims to be “the online site for the pensions industry” should organise itself around such a narrow interest group.
Far from making pensions easy and fun, the financial promotion of institutional investments means that this site is now speaking to a niche of highly paid technocrats and ignoring the hundreds of thousands of executive and owner managers who should be getting to grips with the employer obligations that come with the staging of auto-enrolment.
I am an ambassador for this site and have invested many hours on it. I want it to do well.
The real giant of social media, Martin Lewis, does not exclude anyone from www.moneysavingexpert.com . I and my actuarial friends are on that site every day learning from Martin and his team what matters to people. The forums of this site are essential reading to anyone who really want to know how we reinvigorate workplace savings.
I am sure that were the site to which I am ambassador to change its view and , like the selfish giant, open its garden gates it would find that the children outside reinvigorated it as they did the Selfish Giant.
While on the subject of children, I am taking a childlike delight in being announced as social media champ of the Actuarial Post. Social media “chump” as that social media “chimp” @pensionsmonkey would have it.
If ever there was an organisation that has well and truly got social media, it is the Actuarial Post. Ellie, Sam and your tem, thankyou very much for this honour and even more thanks to you and your 30,000 readers who have voted Hilary Salt.. Actuary of the Year.
If ever there was evidence of the folly of social media exclusion, it is that the site with the tight walled garden cannot open its doors to Ellie, Sam and her team!