Just the right amount of info to the right people separates FIS from staid, wood-panelled competitors
By Ryan Skinner (email)
Today I caught up with the guy behind the FIS twitter feed, Neville Smith, to learn why a company in derivatives trading had taken up this new media tool.
"Every one of our tweets, a daily roundup of the whole day's trading in freight options and derivatives for the Capesize, Panamax, Supramax and Iron Ore Swaps, is put together at the end of the day. I can tell you it's a unique discipline to pack it all into 140-character tweets," said Smith.
FIS has been twittering thus for a couple of months, when Smith and FIS decided that twitter was the ideal vehicle for them to share basic information and expertise from their hectic day-to-day operations. Said Smith: "We pondered doing a blog, but then there's the resource issue of putting aside time for frequent blog posts. I didn't want to do that unless we had the time to do a quality effort, and that's tough in this hectic climate."
Smith has a background as content manager for lloydslist.com and worked closely with Mark Warner there, who he credits for giving him the social media bug. Twitter seemed a natural fit for a brokerage. "What brokers do all day is twitter. Here at the office 15 guys exchange short bursts of coded language," said Smith.
Twitter's not really a thing in the derivatives community, particularly the shipping derivatives community. Smith feels that this, in one way, demonstrates a cultural difference between FIS and their more conservative competitors at Clarksons or Fearnleys.
"We're approaching 100 followers - not the big numbers yet. It's early days. Our impression is that these followers are primarily individual traders in parallel markets to shipping. I think that they find the short daily update on freight rate movements exactly what they're after. No more, no less," said Smith.