Greg on WCCO talking about Online Reputation Management

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

3 emerging trends that keep me jazzed for 2013

2013 trends predictions1. Drone Journalism explodes, meets resistance

Bridging the gap between the CIA’s plane-sized drones and those helicopters you see at shopping mall kiosks, quadroroters and other camera-mounted remote-control aircraft have reached a price point where they are quite affordable, which I happen to think is very exciting. Drone journalism got a foothold in recent years with both traditional and citizen media coverage of Russian riots and the Occupy movement.

Brand publishing found its niche with drone-operated cameras with groups like the Copter Kids producing footage for brands. The military and law enforcement use drones for both surveillance and bad-guy engagement. And everyday citizens are mounting GoPros and DSLRs to flying toys to produce content from the serious to the surreal.

But who owns the airspace around your home, business or workplace? It’s not currently regulated, but I predict it soon will be. Just recently, a drone was spotted near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, and it sparked some questions about who was operating it and why.

There is innate fear and assumptions that flying surveillance aircraft are bad, even when they’re not. My guess is we’re not far from laws prohibiting amateur RC devices from certain airspaces (e.g., civilian drone photographing the Lincoln Memorial from the air will be distinguished from a civilian photographing the same building from the ground), and soon probably enforcement technology to block and disrupt RC signals.

Sure, people will weaponize or use drones for illicit surveillance (think paparazzi 3.0), but just like a phone could be used to prank call someone, I happen to think we shouldn’t limit technology due to potential negative uses.

2. Auto telematics to the next level

Emerging in-car technology — including self-driving and assisted-driving cars, improved GPS and navigation, and voice recognition — is so exciting for the average American who drives 13, 476 miles a year. Case in point: my new car doesn’t have a CD player, but it does have a suite of apps you can access through its touchscreen that leverage my phone’s data plan (Pandora, Stitcher, GPS).

This is only the beginning of your car becoming better connected. It’s only a matter of time before our cars can friend each other, form relationships and let you know if your wife has left work yet just by her car’s location. To-date, automotive manufacturers have been inhibiting innovation and growth of car apps by their reliance on proprietary hardware and software that rarely get upgrades.

I’ve owned three cars with “smart” technology that sync calls and audio through the stereo, but this is the first that features apps you operate through the vehicle’s touchscreen and that are powered by my phone itself. This means the apps can be updated without worrying about vehicle firmware or fumbly USB-based drivers. It also means the app developers can focus on the major smart phone operating systems rather than the automobile platforms.

It’s a very smart and most encouraging development.

3. New tools revoke our ticket to “Success Theater”

Could 2013 be the year social fluffiness and permanency are challenged? Although there are those people who share too much and/or inappropriate content on social media, for the most part we humans are comfortable translating our censorship and self-aggrandizing skills from the real world to our social channels. Our profile pictures and cover images reflect our ideal state.

Our shared photos are perfectly cropped and filtered. Our bios are concise yet witty. Part of the appeal of an online persona is the ability to shape what we share with others — and what we don’t. We all now Stepford Wives? With the exception of the odd political post, a quick audit of my social channels show my friends, fans and followers are all in love with their jobs, significant others and perfect kids.

Everyone is traveling to exotic locations and/or eating the most wonderful-looking food. They are all master photographers and chefs, super parents and community organization leaders. Oh, and everyone is SO FUNNY. I mean, just really funny. And thanks to tools like Timehop, these beautiful, clever, exotic status updates, photos, checkins and shares can be relieved easy and often.


Here’s what I’m loving about the new Facebook Poke app:

  1. It’s timely. You can’t store a picture, perfectly crop it, filter it and send it #latergram. You have to send what you have now.
  2. It’s now and only now. You set a time limit for your content – at no more than 10 seconds. Then it’s gone. I mean, forever gone.
    (note: if you screenshot, the other user is notified and the screenshot is kind of messy with all of the FB Poke menus. It’s not worth it and discouraged)

I’ve sent people content through Facebook Poke I would never share on Facebook, Twitter and certainly not LinkedIn. Uncombed hair and unshaven face pictures. Food that didn’t look appetizing that I was eating anyway. Video of my kids not wearing pants at 2 p.m. screaming at me. You know – the life stuff you wouldn’t share on social media but that you might share with a friend (if it was lightweight enough and you knew it couldn’t be saved).

Sure, these are the reasons teenagers like these apps for sexting, but once again, maybe they have the right idea and wrong application. More on success theater here.

What are you excited about in 2013?