Interview with Alban Jarry - Digital Strategy Specialist
Exclusive interview with Alban Jarry, data strategy specialist in France, author of four white papers, one of the Top 5 B2B influencers to follow on LinkedIn in France and recognised as one of the most important influencers on the web there.
1. When people ask you why you’re using social media at night, what do you usually tell them?
Social media has many advantages for a professional. It offers an incredible amount of information and gives you access to the latest articles published by experts. It’s a fantastic medium for connecting with other professionals, sharing content and interacting with them on a huge multitude of subjects.
Furthermore, it facilitates kindness and altruism and helps prioritise other people, like for example, when we help people who are looking for work using the hashtag #i4emploi. These are the essential new tools in the professional world.
One could list many more points that justify a constant presence on social media, but if I had to choose just one more it would be that it allows you to meet incredible people in virtual life and in real life.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect in a different way that also complements a traditional approach. Regarding my online presence at night, as they’re personal accounts, interaction with other people usually takes place outside of the office and therefore, coincide with this time of day. Besides, the world is less active on these platforms during the daytime.
2. We know that you come from the financial world. When was this passion born for the digital world and social media?
Very early on! My first memories of information technology are from the 1980s, when I was still at school. Then I was lucky enough to study MIAGE (Applied Computing Methods for Business Management) and for 17 years I developed the ability to manage teams, evolving in line with digital world that we have experienced in the digital world.
I remember that just at the end of the 90s, I was involved forums, the predecessors to social media. It was already possible to share ideas on the network and have virtual networks. Social networks came a little later, but their arrival was obvious. The digital world and communication became a continuous part of my professional career.
Four years ago, following a staff restructuring in the company where I was working, I had to look for another job.
LinkedIn allowed me to quickly update my contacts and publish news. I also created a Twitter account so I could find information about the new job post I wanted.
3. You are the author of four white papers in French about social media: "Twitter told by 50 financial personalities", "735 users magnetised by LinkedIn", "112 point of view about Twitter" and "Getting to know 612 experts on social media". What can readers expect from them?
At first it was to find out how professionals in the banking, finance and insurance sectors used these social networks. The majority of my initial contacts were made through Twitter, because it was more logical for me to start with an analysis of this more collaborative platform.
Little by little, the objective was to move away from our original sectors to increase our analysis integrating other social networks, but above all, to see what was happening outside of my sector.
It’s discovering different points of view and with complimentary angles of analysis we learn more. These write papers are accompanied by studies to isolate trends and see the evolution of the use of the platforms over time.
Readers of these works will discover a multitude of experiences about the use of social networks and they will certainly want to explore them in a different way, now that they have as many means to do so as people browsing.
4. You are also a speaker in major French schools like HEC and also the Deputy President of the Polytechnic School of Insurance. Do you remember your first speech?
When I was in a redeployment period, Fabiola Turcat was offering courses on the use of social networks and suggested that I teach them with her. The courses were for helping people who were looking for work and using these tools in a different way. It was more than four years ago and they were my first talks on this subject.
At HEC, Gérard de Maupeou who runs the MGA (General Advanced Management), gave me the opportunity to contribute as a speaker on personal branding and social networks, continuing to spread this knowledge and share it with others. Since then I’ve been going to HEC more or less every six months.
The themes of the presentations have evolved with experience gained through the real world, therefore I never give the same presentation twice. For example, a little while ago at HEC I held a start-up accelerator to share knowledge with new entrepreneurs.
At the Polytechnic School of Insurance, of which I am Deputy President, we are setting-up an MBA in Insurance Data Science. We have also set-up an exchange program committee for people who have applied to the MBA so that they can ask us anything they like.
Since I started giving classes on the MBA course, all content from my presentations is published via SlideShare. It’s really important that content carries on living after a presentation because it can always be useful for other people.
5. Les Echos newspaper has quoted you as being in the top 15 experts to follow on Twitter. You have been classed as one of the ‘top five B2B influencers to follow on LinkedIn for more than a year. You very regularly take part in the 100 most influential Twitter accounts in Paris and you are recognised as one of the most powerful influencers on the web in France. How does it make you feel?
The first time I heard about these league tables it really surprised me. It was very hard to believe and I had never imagined featuring in these rankings. Each time you hear a piece of news like this it’s important to maintain a relative distance and ask yourself how everything that you have been creating can carry on being for some reason.
These social networks and the notoriety that goes with them can be used in another way, helping people or associations that need it. If that social network and the impact that it generates can be useful, then it has another effect.
Rankings help because they allow you to express ideas. Yet, one must never forget that rankings are short-lived and can change. I still that being ranked alongside politicians, tv celebrities or people from the world of industry, like Elon Musk is unusual. But in the end it shows us that everybody can achieve it.
Stay tuned for part two of the interview with Alban Jarry on personal branding.