It's interesting to read people's interpretations of what a blog should or should not contain, on the back of the IFAonline team's launch into the space last week.
Some people interpret them as journals, others record their train of thought at that moment while other individuals use them more as a column or commentary on recent events to present their perspective.
It’s a great reflection of how diverse people really are, and at the same time why the market needs to accept financial services businesses, consumers and individuals don’t necessarily fit one model.
I’ve been reading one financial services blog produced by David Ferguson at Nucleus Financial, for example, and was surprised to learn not only is he extremely open about the goings-on of the business development in its launch phase, the meetings held, the feedback he’s had and the progress of the new company but he’s even posting details of his personal life and the “hot date” he apparently had last week!
It’s perhaps one step too far for my liking (I might share gossip providing it’s not libellous but if I have any hot dates I’ll be keeping them to myself). But it does reveal the way technology is changing our daily lives and how willing people are to try new ways of working.
As journalists writing online, for example, we’ve had to adapt the traditional processes and content of journalism, the information we deliver and how much, as well as look at how to speed up our reporting systems, cut administration, reduce the processes and essentially react to events or situations so we don't have to stop and think about everything.
What we’ve tended to do, as a result, is looking at how we and others, as individuals, instinctively look at information, rather than spend hours assessing what we think people want to see and hear.
Intriguingly, I’ve also discovered the best bloggers seem to be those who just write and don’t stop to analyse what they are saying every step of the way. You can tell from the tone, style, flow and expression, they’re first of all treating the online space as a log of thoughts and information, and then going back to see if it makes sense.
I can occasionally tell when our editorial team is in that mode as it appears more as a rant than a commentary on a situation – we often get comments from readers in a similar style too - yet the reactions raised in the heat of the moment can often be the right ones.
I’ve been reading a book called Blink over the last week which suggests we tend to dismiss our instincts towards a situation as irrational, and would rather analyse every option or angle of a situation because our perception is instincts are not logical.
We forget our instincts tend to be a reflection of our brains assessing a situation because it has been trained to do so.
A great example highlighted in the book was a US Pentagon war games scenario in 2002 – ahead of the latest Iraq conflict – which found after weeks of intensive formulated battles, the former general who worked on his instincts but with no intelligence wiped the floor with the generals who had every piece of information and satellite data, had covered every scenario they thought possible and stuck firmly to those scenarios, instead of adapting to a situation as it developed.
Have you noticed much of the technology development by financial services companies is about instinctive responses and cutting processing down so you don’t even notice you’re doing the work?
Perhaps not, but many people miss the fact once you know what you’re doing and you’ve used a system two or three times, instinct kicks in and your brain almost moves into automatic pilot so you’re actually focusing on what you are doing but thinking ahead to the next stage of that work.
It’s perhaps how the industry should be looking at information delivery to the client.
We’re at a point where firms are more concerned with making sure every eventually and potential scenario with a client has been covered by the information taken and presented, with every i dotted and t crossed in reality because the regulatory regime previously required firms to do just that.
That said, the tide is turning somewhat and firms should perhaps apply the same rules they should apply to themselves when looking at how they treat their customers: what do I instinctively want to know, does too much information colour my understanding, and do I discourage consumer confidence in my own abilities if I appear to telling them more than they can take in?
My own instinct is I've probably rambled further than I intended but my train of thought got me to the conclusion I had hidden cerebrally.IFAonline
Follows McVey's resignation
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Integration with Money Dashboard
View from the front row