Archives For Digital Reputation Management

Our water heater flooded our basement last night, and I specifically didn’t tweet about it. Then I thought about how The Circle would say I have an obligation to share that this life event happened. Then it turned out to be a simple fix of the furnace drainage line – not the water heater. And then I thought about how The Circle would say I should share that lesson for someone else who is having water heater issues.

And I didn’t tweet anything, because I know Timehop will make me relive any bitching on the internet on this day in history for the rest of my life.

If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, read it!


87 percent of people say that a frustrating digital experience leads to at least a somewhat negative perception about that brand (Harris Interactive, October 2013)

via People Are Increasingly Frustrated With Digital Experiences, and Walk Away With Negative Brand Perception — Bulldog Reporter.

Pretty hard to argue against making digital/mobile a priority for brands and agencies with a stat like this one

User generated paid media in a crisis

This morning I’m presenting at the PR News Next Practices Conference in San Francisco, splitting the 8 Essential Skills Communicators Will Need to Thrive in 2014 and Beyond with my co-presenter, Darrel Ng.

Here is my half of the presentation:

What skills do you think we’ll need this time next year?


In this timeless post from April 2011, writer and futurist Kevin Kelly details the skills needed to handle the influx of 21st century technology. 100 percent still valid today…

• Anything you buy, you must maintain. Each tool you use requires time to learn how to use, to install, to upgrade, or to fix. A purchase is just the beginning. You can expect to devote as much energy/money/time in maintaining a technology as you did in acquiring it.

• Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything until 5 minutes before you need it. Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. Therefore acquire at the last possible moment.

• You will be newbie forever. Get good at the beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliticting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself).

• Often learning a new tool requires unlearning the old one. The habits of using a land line phone don’t work in email or cell phone. The habits of email don’t work in twitter. The habits of twitter won’t work in what is next.

• Take sabbaticals. Once a week let go of your tools. Once a year leave it behind. Once in your life step back completely. You’ll return with renewed enthusiasm and perspective.

• How easy to switch? You will leave the tool you are using today at some time in the near future. How easy will it be to leave? If leaving forces you to leave all your data behind, or to learn a new way of typing, or to surrender four other technologies you were still using, then maybe this is not the best one to start.

• Quality is not always related to price. Sometimes expensive gear is better, sometimes the least expensive is best for you. Evaluating specs and reviews should be the norm.

• For every expert opinion you find online seek an equal but opposite expert opinion somewhere else. Your decisions must be made with the full set of opinions.

• Understanding how a technology works is not necessary to use it well. We don’t understand how biology works, but we still use wood well.

• Tools are metaphors that shape how you think. What embedded assumptions does the new tool make? Does it assume right-handedness, or literacy, or a password, or a place to throw it away? Where the defaults are set can reflect a tool’s bias.

• What do you give up? This one has taken me a long time to learn. The only way to take up a new technology is to reduce an old one in my life already. Twitter must come at the expense of something else I was doing — even if it just daydreaming.

• Every new technology will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs.

• The risks of a new technology must be compared to the risks of the old technology, or no technology. The risks of a new dental MRI must be compared to the risks of an x-ray, and the risks of dental x-rays must be compared to the risks of no x-ray and cavities.

• Be suspicious of any technology that requires walls to prevent access. If you can fix it, modify it or hack it yourself, that is a good sign.

• The proper response to a stupid technology is to make a better one yourself, just as the proper response to a stupid idea is not to outlaw it but to replace it with a better idea.

• Nobody has any idea of what a new invention will really be good for. To evaluate don’t think, try.

• The second order effects of technology usually only arrive when everyone has one, or it is present everywhere.

• The older the technology, the more likely it will continue to be useful.

• Find the minimum amount of technology that will maximize your options.

via The Technium: Techno Life Skills.


greg swan_success theater wcco

I was interviewed for this WCCO-TV piece, Beware: Your Reputation is Being Googled, this week:

“If you look at your Facebook and Twitter feeds, our friends lead amazing lives…that’s not real life, that’s success theater, that’s us perfectly orchestrating that,” said Greg Swan, a digital strategist at Weber Shandwick…

“Surveys show that 70 percent of job candidates were rejected by recruiters just from a pure search engine perspective, of seeing what comes up,” Swan said…

“It used to be that you’d ask someone, ‘Have you Googled yourself lately?,’ and we’d all giggle. But now that’s a real thing,” Swan said.

Typing your name into the Google search box will show what you look like online, whether you’ve posted anything truly embarrassing, and whether you have a “digital doppelganger.”

“A digital doppelganger would be someone with the exact same name, who comes up when your name is Googled,” Swan said.

If that happens, you may want to use your middle initial to set your name apart. Other tricks include filling out a complete profile on LinkedIn, the business networking site, and making sure your Facebook settings keep your pictures as private as you want.

Swan also uses an app called Time Hop to look back at his posts from the past. It’s mostly for fun, but also serves as a gentle reminder of what’s been put up.

And if he has to send an embarrassing picture, Swan will use Snapchat or Facebook poke. Those apps make the pictures you send disappear in 10 seconds or less.

Watch the whole piece here


I was quoted in a two-page Chaska Herald feature on civic government communications discussing the opportunity of utilizing social media:

The highs and lows of social media

Social media is a powerful way for civic government to connect with its social-savvy citizenry,” wrote Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of digital strategy for Weber Shandwick. “The city of Minneapolis uses Facebook and Twitter to announce snow plowing. Stillwater residents promote community garage sales via Facebook. Shakopee posts video from their music in the park series on a city YouTube channel. The Chaska Police Department uses Nixle to send SMS text alerts about breaking news in town.

Jumping on the Bandwidthwagon

Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of Digital Strategy for Weber Shandwick, would agree for the most part, but he still has some constructive criticism for the city.

“Like many organizations and businesses, the city of Chaska jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon, but hasn’t had a strategic communication and community management strategy to ensure updates are timely, questions are answered and that the page adds value to its fans,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Podhradsky gets that, acknowledging, “We gotta be better at this.”

While critical, Swan also understands the challenges cities like Chaska face.

“To be sure, Chaska government officials have plenty on their plates, and in an era of limited resources, we taxpayers want them to prioritize their efforts,” he wrote. “Yet, in many cases, a dormant social media profile is worse than a non-existent one … It’s of-ten difficult to justify return on investment in moving resources into social media, but the opportunity cost of not participating in conversations about your community can be high.

I also put together a “5 Social Media Trends to Embrace/5 Social Media Trends to Ignore” sidebar that ran within the feature.

Five social media trends to embrace

* Online monitoring of what people are saying about your community

* Social community building and engagement with two-way conversations

* Real-time event coverage (photos/video/news) on social channels

* Social focus-grouping, letting your online advocates get involved

* Live streams of public meetings with real-time chats

Five social media trends to ignore

* Establishing social media channels without a content and community management policy

* Outsourcing social media management to vendors

* Editing Wikipedia, which is against site policy for affiliated organizations

* Focusing so much on ROI that you miss out on the conversation happening today

* Google+, which hasn’t yet set guidelines for non-humans

It was a fantastic round-up by the Chaska Herald with stories on the faces behind city social channels, the role of public safety in social and interviews with social channels from Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Chaska, School District 112, Carver and Carver County. They should enter it for an award. I’m serious.