There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about PRISM and subsequently, metadata.  We’re in the business of archiving social media records, and that includes the metadata.

But what IS metadata? And why should it matter to advisors?

Metadata: a definition

Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, and/or locates an electronic file. Metadata provides answers to questions like “what is it,” “where did it come from,” and “who created it?”

Simply put, metadata is data about data. And underneath every tweet, status update, photo, and message, there is a native record containing important metadata.

For example:

metadata for financial advisors

metadata from Facebook


Why financial advisors should pay attention to metadata

Essentially, when it comes to metadata in the financial services industry, one word comes to mind: compliance.

One of several strategies for complying with social media regulations is record keeping. The SEC and FINRA dictate that Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and Broker-Dealers must retain records of all communication via social networks. And when it comes to social media records, the regulatory bodies are referring to ALL of the information about the social media record: Where is it from? Where is it going? When did it start? How long did it last?

In other words, the metadata.

Next Steps

So now that you know what metadata is and why it is important to you as a financial advisor, what do you do next?

Well, if you haven’t been using social media, it’s time to get started!  Of course, we’re not suggesting that you dive in headfirst.  Do your research first.  You can start by checking out our list of blogs for financial services professionals.