April 2012

Get LinkedIn

By Jacques Rioux

What is your status on Facebook? Have you been tweeting up a storm lately? Today, the number of tools available to exchange ideas and expertise through social media is expanding at an incredibly rapid pace. These tools also provide opportunities for grass root based communities to mobilize and interact rapidly. With this in mind, the Education and Research section council decided late last year to create a LinkedIn group for the benefit of its members.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members. Most of those members elect to join one or many groups catering to their particular professional interests and expertise. The E&R group is one of those and is in fact a subgroup of the official Society of Actuaries LinkedIn group. Note that if you are not yet a member of LinkedIn, you must first become a member before joining a group.

The LinkedIn E&R group has been in existence for just a few months. There was an initial blast email membership drive initiated in January. The response was very positive and resulted in almost 100 member registrations. That is essentially one out of every six members of the E&R section. While this is a good start, I think there are probably a few laggards out there who need a little nudge in the right direction. Hopefully, this note will come as a timely reminder to those of you who have forgotten entirely about the email invite or those who initially dismissed it without adequate consideration. In any case, this is your section and it is your active engagement in it that will continue to shape its actions and expansion.

The academic relations list served a purpose for a while for those of you who are registered on it. However, not much is happening there. It has almost exclusively been used as an actuarial academic job posting board. There is nothing wrong with that and there is no plan to retire the list server. But I am hoping that, going forward, those of you who post jobs on the academic list server will also take the opportunity to announce them on the LinkedIn group. It will be a win for everyone, more exposure for the institution posting the job and an easier way for potential hires to find all such posts in one place. If you are reading this and are an academic actuary, you should certainly have at least one of your actuarial colleagues in your establishment keeping abreast with the E&R group.

Again, this is a very young initiative and we won't know what it will morph into for a number of months. It will only be all that it can be if you, the membership, give it a chance and get involved. For example, there is presently a very active discussion going on about the SOA's Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) program. Points are being raised about unintended consequences the program has brought about for very small programs. If you would like to add your voice to this discussion please consider joining and putting your two cents in. When you join LinkedIn, also please consider putting a picture in your profile. You do not have to do it immediately or ever. But, even if you are like me and have been told that you have the perfect face for radio, it allows your online contacts to literally put a face to the name.

Jacques Rioux, PhD, ASA, is the lead developer for SAS’ operational risk solution in the Financial Services Solutions Division at SAS Institute in Cary, N.C. He can be reached at Jacques.Rioux@sas.com.