Your business needs social media.

First things first, please.

No.

Your business needs:

… a clearly understood problem it is solving.

… a product or service that addresses that problem in a manner that delights customers to the point of surprise.

… an amazing team that believes in it.

… a visionary(s) and leader(s).

… a personality, a brand and a conscious.

… a viable business model.

… a collaborative environment that fosters trial and error.

… a designed culture that makes all the above happen.

 

Focus on these things first and Facebook gets a whole lot easier.

One word stories

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know that I often post one word status updates. I started doing this last year out of complete boredom. As luck would have it, something very interesting happened. I got more conversations and replies to my one word posts than many of my more descriptive updates. I began to force myself to think in only short, abbreviated updates. And so, for a period of about six months, I would only post a single word.

I’ve written previously about what you can learn by stripping things down to the bare minimum. So, as my business partner @deziner often asks, what are the learnings from this particular instance?

Whether it’s a status update or a tweet, you are essentially telling a micro-story. When you edit it all the way down to one word, it invites everyone to imagine and create the rest of the story. They must fill in the blanks. So, when I posted “Wings,” John Sprecher scribed “Buffalo or Paul McCartney and…?”

At it’s heart, this is what social media is all about—shared storytelling. A user shares an experience that friends and followers then participate in based on their own experience.

From a brand perspective, this is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood, and underutilized aspects of social media. Shared storytelling has been going on since humans gathered around a fire. Stories are retold (The Odyssey), re-imagined (Romeo & Juliet becomes West Side Story) and repurposed (Petroglyphs as done by Paul Klee).

I often wonder why so many in marketing still cling to the hope that they alone should control the story. The only reason I can see is if your brand story never held any truth in the first place.

The habit of empty pixel grazing

There’s a scene from Sam Shepard’s 1978 play Curse of the Starving Class that has stuck with me for many years. Actually, it’s not so much a scene as a recurring behavior that takes place during the performance. Characters randomly open the refrigerator door and blankly stare at the contents, only to close the door after a moment without removing anything. It’s a brilliant observation of quirky human behavior we can all relate too. We’re not really hungry—we just look to see if there’s anything in the fridge that might interest us—even if we looked just ten minutes before.

I believe there’s a entirely new digital form of this now, something which I’ll call empty pixel grazing. That is, the part of our behavior that drives us to keep checking back in with Tweetdeck, Facebook, Tumbler, Posterous, Slideshare, Klout, Mailchimp, etc. etc. etc. to see what our friends/followers are doing, or how many comments, views, RTs, likes, embeds, +K’s or opens we’ve gotten. (Not to mention refreshing personal and business email). What is your unconscious clock set at? Five minutes? Ten minutes before you have to check the “social fridge?”

For all the good digital has brought, it has also bred a constant state of distraction, if not emerging neurosis. There’s an entirely new form of attention deficit disorder. In this case, the disorder I’m talking about is the amount of attention paid to each of us. Am I getting enough comments, enough retweets, enough likes? Are people paying enough attention to my content? Are they paying enough attention to me? What will happen if I’m not part of the stream? Tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite (and now the new Facebook feed) are the Social Frigidaires of digital content, constantly refreshing so that each time you “open the door,” something new is there for you to consume.

Tweet Deck

Social Fridgidaire. (Also note the insane number of tabs I have open)

This has all helped fuel the social self-help industry (or maybe, the self-help industry has fueled the neurosis). You know the bloggers who manufacture lists on a daily basis with the 3, 5, 7, 8 or 10 reasons why you should do this, not do that, remember this, but forget about that. Sometimes they’ll go as far as “17 easy steps,” which is the equivalent of an IKEA assembly manual on how to succeed in social media.

Just as absent presence has come to define the state of paying more attention to a smartphone than the people around you at the dinner table, empty pixel grazing eats up more time each day than can be measured in mere minutes. It’s not only the time—it’s the unconscious preoccupation with our information streams and the inability to truly focus. Our consciousness becomes divided between the online and the offline.

When we create platforms for our clients and our products, we talk in terms of how users will consume content. It is indeed consumed, meaning that both nourishing content and empty calorie content exist. No surprise then there is what I would call an emerging content obesity, that is, time spent on empty information, communication, and “content spread gratification.” The question is, what does this come at the expense of? The corporate reflex response is of course productivity, but I’m looking deeper into the individual human cost. I would argue deeper thinking and reflection suffer the most, and they are by far much more important since they are key drivers of productivity and creativity—be it personal or professional.

Today, keep track of how many times you click on your open Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or Facebook tab and just g(r)aze, before going back to what you were working on. Sometimes you will consume content, other times you’ll just check to see if there’s any content worth consuming. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Or just an emerging behavior to be aware of?

I tweet therefore I am

The lifeblood of social media is human interaction, thoughts and emotions. Forever trying to understand the importance of it on a need level, I like thinking in terms of how all of it fits into the realm of philosophy and human understanding.

Doesn’t every tweet come down to this: I matter. With each post, we leave behind digital proof of our existence.

Gauguin, Paul "D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?"

Where Do We Come From? (Facebook) What Are We? (Twitter) Where Are We Going? (Foursquare)

Digital has made posting as instantaneous as thinking. How many of us feel that if we stop tweeting, posting, or checking in we’ll in some form cease to exist? How (and most importantly Why) has digital quickly become such a big part of our consciousness?

@Descartes, what do you think?

 

Keeping up with The @Joneses

Wikipedia tells us that “Keeping up with The Joneses” is an idiom referring to an individual’s comparison to one’s neighbor as a benchmark for social caste or the accumulation of material goods. As with everything digital, it’s always fascinating to see established human behavior such as this begin to show up (or morph itself) in a new online incarnation. While I believe it may currently be a minority of the online social sphere, there are certainly signs that there is a growing group of distinct users who have a preoccupation with their online social standing and prestige.

1959: Caddy fins. 2011: Klout score.

With that, I present Exhibit A: Klout

The most important thing about Klout (and the debate surrounding it) is not the purported influence it measures, or the fact (according to Klout) that marketers seem to “want it.” It’s that it brilliantly satisfies an emotional drive. Klout is important because it recognizes the core need for ubertweeters to Keep up with The @Joneses. Klout is the ultimate letter jacket for geeks. A daily updated badge of honor that continues to fuel the conspicuous consumption of all that is digitally social.

I’m not convinced this means anything for marketers. A Klout “Perk“—sending a user a branded coffee mug or a 3 oz. sample of styling gel—isn’t anything new. It’s just moved from the warehouse aisles at Costco to a sweet digital user experience for the tiniest sliver of people who happen to tweet a lot. What marketers foolishly fail to realize is that giving out freebies to Klout subscribers isn’t going to buy them any loyalty—that loyalty exists between the user and Klout. Subscribers like Klout because Klout gets them free stuff, regardless of whatever that stuff might happen to be. See my friend @NateStPierre‘s brilliant post on this very subject.

It goes much further than Klout of course. The desire to increase one’s position in the social hierarchy may not be solely American, but we certainly have a knack for it. In the digital age, this presents the opportunity to manifest itself in many ways. For this “soci0-egonomic” group, getting on the list for the iPhone 4S, being jazzed over Google + (that didn’t last long), or scoring an invite for Spotify is a big, big deal. Some Twitter lists have become the equivalent of elite suburban neighborhoods. “OMG, I’m on @edwardboches design list with IDEO.” How else does one explain the constant daily barrage of blog posts with a headline that touts the 3, 5, 7, 8 or 10 reasons why you should do this, not do that, remember this, but forget about that. I recently pulled the following numbers out of the headlines from a very well known blogger’s most popular posts list: 8, 5, 7, 10, 5, 27, 10, 10, 10, 7, 5, 10, 5, 5. I kid you not. These digits were followed by nouns including reasons, tips, secrets, habits, steps, techniques, mistakes, and ways. Twitter is a gold mine for social media hawkers peddling self help advice to users preoccupied with their social standing in the digital food chain.

It was only a little over two years ago that social media felt like a wide open territory, full of opportunity and equality for all. Now, good old human nature has take over, creating cliques and “hipper than thou” scoring systems. It was bound to happen. The outcry on Twitter yesterday to the change in the Klout scoring system was predictable to say the least. When Klout algorithmically says you have influence and bestows you with a high score, Klout can do no wrong. When Klout arbitrarily decides it is time to reshuffle the data and your score drops precipitously, Klout is held in contempt. So it goes.

With an entire generation of digital natives becoming mature, it will be interesting to see what other behavioral manifestations and social status anxieties we’re likely to see migrate online.

———————————————————

¹ Many readers of this blog have no idea what Klout—or the Klout score—is, which is interesting to say the least. You may be surprised that even though you may not know what Klout is, Klout knows who you are and has been tracking your online social activity whether you like it or not. And get this—there’s no way to unsubscribe. According to their site:

The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence
  • Amplification: How much you influence them
  • Network Impact: The influence of your network
Klout’s tagline “Measuring influence since 2008″ is dubious at best. Klout measures online “influence”. It does not attempt to measure offline influence. Which last time I checked—as warm-blooded hominids—we all still frequent on a daily basis.

 

I just tweeted your business, but nobody was home

Walk into any establishment today and you’ll inevitably run smack dab into a sign that says “Follow us on Twitter.” Generally it’s communicated on everything, and proudly indicates “Yes, we have checked that box off on our marketing tactic list.” Unfortunately many of these Twitter accounts are unmanned or only exist to tweet the latest sale, special or company news. What a shame.

Case in point—over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve had lunch at a very good local establishment. Each time, I’ve checked in on foursquare and subsequently tweeted how good the food was. In fact, during the second visit, one of my followers tweeted me to see how my lunch was. “Fantastic,” I responded, including the restaurant’s twitter handle in the reply.

bird house closed

Hello?

So, two visits, half a dozen tweets about the great food, and a direct recommendation to someone on Twitter. The establishment’s response?

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

What an opportunity lost. A simple, “Thx, glad you liked it,” response would’ve elicited another tweet from me telling them I’d be back. Fact is, had they simply retweeted my recommendation to another Twitter user it would have been better than any advertisement they could run. But, it’s apparent no one is even listening. I look at it this way: would the management not respond to me if I praised them in the restaurant? Social media is just a matter of behaving the same way online as you do in your offline business establishment. Simple stuff, but it still remains a mystery to many businesses.

Here’s a suggestion: Don’t start a Twitter account as a business just to say you have one. This is actually a pretty common mistake. If you are on Twitter, you need to actively listen and participate. You’ll hear great things you can share with your follower list. And if you hear negative things, you’ll be able to proactively and positively respond and find out what you could do better next time.

Listen, then respond. It’s how conversations get started.

———————–

This post was first published in the April 29th issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Nope. That’s not a reference to the fact that I haven’t written a post in two weeks. Although I do feel kinda invisible.

I refer to that famous quote because I believe it should be appropriated by traditional ad agencies, who after an 18-month long string of death due to social media obituaries, flew out of the grave on Tuesday when Wieden + Kennedy broke The Old Spice Man social media campaign. Check out the eye-popping stats from Mashable here.

Not sure if this is Wieden or Kennedy. Or perhaps Lee Clow shaved his beard.

Yes, there are still many questions that need to be answered, some of which we bandied about during Translator lab hours yesterday:

Is this a stunt, or a long-term sustainable means of engagement?
The last tweet from @OldSpice began “Well friends, like all great things this too must end.” Huh. That’s campaign speak to me. To me, by definition, social doesn’t end. It’s what @faris describes as constantly connected. Yeah, that’s good. I’d pose this question to @streetzapizza and @AJBombers : If you took a three-month hiatus from Twitter, would you still be as connected to your customers? (And if you did, what would it do to your sales?) The challenge for Old Spice and W+K becomes now that you found a brilliant way to make connections, what’s your plan to sustain them?

Do I laugh at this in front of my laptop, but still walk past the product on the retail shelf? The work is brilliant. Hysterical. Definitely spreadable media. (And please, for the bazillionth time, stop using the term viral video). I honestly have no idea how Isaiah Mustafa did not crack up while performing—they were doing these at a rate of one every 7 minutes.

But.

Agencies get hired to sell things, and fired when they don’t. Okay, they get fired for a lot of crazy other reasons too, but that’s a different post. Dudes—or gals who purchase personal products for your dude—are you buying Old Spice in the near future? I loved the videos, but I will not be a purchaser. That makes me a passive endorser. Is that what brand managers are after? In checking HootSuite, I see that my former Minneapolis colleague @alangdell (who is much younger and hipper than me) just tweeted:

This Old Spice campaign is just amazingly entertaining. I still don’t want to buy it, but I’m glad someone is financing this.

W+K is doing a helluva job changing the perception of Old Spice. But to a lot of us, the product is still—well—Old Spice. Certainly time and sales figures will tell. I’m sure there will be plenty of data on that to come.

Despite those questions, this work validated one thing for me. Don’t count traditional agencies out. They will eventually adapt to the new platforms and channels. There are way too many smart people to assume they’ll never get it.

It will still take time. It may come with pouting, holding of breath, and a fair amount of bitching and moaning, (I’ve covered the subject) but eventually the sheer intellectual and creative capital of those trained in doing something one way will eventually adapt to doing it a new way. To be conversationalists. To be co-creators. To create experiences in addition to campaigns. To walk a high-wire in real-time and collaborate with other disciplines and produce amazing results.

This is a really good thing. And it makes the discussion of who will rule the modern communication roost—traditional, digital or a T.B.D. evolution of both—even more interesting.

Let the debate continue.

Putting the Human Back in Humanity

There’s been talk about a shift in sentiment that has been evolving over what seems to be just the last few months. A backlash if you will against the thinking surrounding social media and the focus on implementation tactics. A level of frustration with the trepidation, nervousness and overarching reluctance to embrace social media for a fear of “doing it wrong.” I have thought a lot about this. And it goes a bit beyond embracing a new channel. I think the core issue is deeply rooted—more than we want to admit. Because I see social media’s influence going way beyond a marketing or engagement tool. It’s actually working towards putting the human back into humanity.

Which side of your brain are you using?

We humans have been busy at work developing our new brains—or Neocortex, for us science geeks. It’s the the part of the brain that is responsible for the ability to think logically, to reason and draw conclusions. It’s what sets us apart from most, if not all other species of life. Because it’s new, and we alone possess this skill, it’s become what we operate under, what is valued, and what we exploit the most in our ways (thank you ego.) Looking at this new skill set, it’s easy to see where humanity’s propensity for control comes into play. Logic and reason relies on rules. Rules require absolutes. Absolutes demand control.

We see this reliance on control affect everything we do. Look at any aspect of how we run ourselves, or the rules under which we operate. Government, education, parenting, business, marketing. It’s all based on control. Control the curriculum, control the message, control the process, control the brand. We’ve disconnected ourselves from each other and and placed more emphasis on the rules. The more rules, the more success. It’s this reliance on rules and control that has become our ingrained safety net, and exactly why social media is scary. The rules change in the social world, at lightning speed, and it forces us out of our relatively new-found comfort zone. We can’t control it. In fact, control is shunned.

But while this new brain is basking in evolutionary success, it is not our only source of definition. There is another side to us simple humans, an entire ancient brain (Limbic Cortex) that houses our intuition, emotions, and feeling. Our ego that relies on our newest toy has pushed aside the relevance of this type of thinking. We haven’t stopped experiencing those “gut feelings” or the influence feelings have on decisions, we’ve just somehow discounted them.

Until now.

This is what social media is doing to us. This is why there is a battle cry to stop thinking about the media and start paying attention to the social. (Sound familiar @augieray ?) Because the connections and emotions that these new technologies have enabled are reshaping basic expectations, and calling to the table a renewed appreciation for the human aspects of humanity. Inclusion, authenticity and freedom to participate are quickly becoming the new definition of success. This leaves rules and control to find a new, supporting role in how we operate. This shift goes beyond how we develop our social media strategies. Those that don’t evolve with these newfound expectations will be exposed and left behind. For example, it is quickly becoming not enough for companies to hire a good, smart voice who is smart in the social space. The expectation is that you at your core—in culture and practice—are engaged and care. And if you are not, you will quickly be found out.

I think what makes us human – is our interconnectedness among people. It’s our ability to form and maintain relationships. It’s the barometer by which we call ourselves human.
– Thomas Jane

The work that needs to be done in this new world is not understanding Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The work that needs to be done is recognizing both sides of our brain and adapting to a new definition of success and engagement. I hate to break it to you. I know self reflection is hard. But the choice is yours. Where do you and your business priorities lie? Maintaining control and playing by the rules, or jumping feet first,  appreciating the unexpected, and being part of humanity?

I know where I stand. Do you?

On Death and Dying: the five stages of post digital grief

 

Could the good doctor be talking about advertising?

Sean Duffy wrote a provocative post recently on TalentZoo.com titled “Advertising Agencies: Kiss Your Creative Teams Goodbye.” He contends that to maximize the potential of digital media, traditional agencies must be willing to restructure the venerated copywriter/art director team. As you might imagine, the eye-popping title of the post led to a flurry of emotionally-charged user comments. Ah, digital. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

Reactions fell neatly into Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Let’s examine reactions to the post through the lens of each of these stages. When assembled, the individual responses paint a great picture of the psychological and emotional trauma the advertising industry as a whole is currently experiencing.

C’mon it’ll be fun, I promise.

Denial

So many quotes, so little time. I like this one:

The essence of a great, memorable and powerful advertising communication – that “killer line” and that awesome concept that expresses the idea – that’s still best born of the “arcane” marriage of writer and art director.

But I love this one:

First of all, what this article is actually saying is that the creative team became a creative herd. And I think we all know that too many cooks… What died is the idea, the concept. I agree that with a good concept anyone who has never written or art directed for the web would do a better job than those “experienced” in executing drek. There is so much shoved in our faces right now, it’s too bad that none of it has a concept. If it did, I’d probably remember it. I remember most of the great concepts in the One Show books before the book became one huge encyclopedia of everything out there. Quick, can anyone out there come up with a great campaign that’s currently running ON ANY MEDIUM?

Gotta love that raw emotion. Digital, you are so good. What did we do before you?

For those still in the denial stage, take a look at R/GA’s Nike+. It is not the work of an art director/copywriter team. To put it in proper perspective, it is the digital equivalent of Doyle Dane Bernbach’s seminal Think Small ad. I would argue that it is the most important work done by any creative agency—traditional or digital—in the past ten years. Listen to what Goodby’s Director of Digital Strategy Gareth Kay has to say on the matter. In traditional advertising terms, a committee created this. In the post digital age, it’s referred to as a cross-discipline team.

I think the problem lies in the fact that the great concept traditionalists are looking for is no longer a smart headline. It’s not a visual solution. Frankly, it’s not a message at all. The great concept is now an experience. To quote Gareth Kay, it is an idea that does. We need to stop using conventions we are familiar with to place constraints (or express our denial) on the emergence of new forms of communication and engagement. Read what Faris Yakob, Chief Innovation Officer at MDC Partners has to say about our new digital reality:

The emergence of a new media system is typified by a period of transposition, where the behavioural grammar of the previous system remains dominant. The first television shows were radio shows with people talking directly into camera. The first films were stageplays that had been filmed. And the first marketing forays online took what we knew about media and branding from broadcast media and applied it to a whole new space.

But digital is different.

Digital is not a channel. It’s a suite of platforms, channels and tactics that will, ultimately subsume its parents entirely.

Amen. All the denial in the world will not change this new reality.

Anger

This assault on the 2-person creative team is really becoming annoying. Two smart, talented creatives can take a business problem and develop an idea that addresses/solves it better than any other number. Then that idea can be executed appropriately in all the media.

What a dumb, misleading headline. Any agency that devalues its creative team does so at its own peril. Who’s going to create the um…creative? AE’s and coders?

Harsh. But I get where it’s coming from. I get it better than you think. For over 10 years, I regularly logged 70 hour weeks in the pursuit of the big idea. Some of those ideas can be found in The One Show and Communication Arts Advertising and Design annuals. It’s harder than hell to do great work. It takes a combination of talent and grind. And I would never suggest that traditional advertising is a) dead  b) irrelevant or c) unnecessary.

I think a lot of the anger that traditional creatives feel is that suddenly, out of the blue, you’re supposed to think about web, and mobile, and social, and now ads for the iPad. You have smaller budgets, less time to do it, and you probably took a pay cut in the last two years. And now there’s something called crowdsourcing that everyone is enamored with.

Yes, I get it.

But the fact of the matter is, it’s not a two-person job anymore. Brands still need to create awareness. They need great TV spots. They need great print ads. It’s just that these messages should not be replicated in digital. They need to be translated (insert shameless plug here) into digital experiences and that takes a broader skill set—a.k.a. the bigger team—which is the point of Mr. Duffy’s article.

Unfortunately, when you start off with “Kiss your creative teams goodbye,” you’ll lose the very crowd you need to convert.

Bargaining

It usually goes something like this: We’ve hired some geeks and they have their own area. Ghost of Transformational Change, would you please leave us alone now?

Sure, add more people to the team. Copy and Art Creatives always benefit from more input. But don’t make the mistake of equating technical advice with true creative development.

Ummm, ouch. Another sentiment I often hear is that as long as you add a web designer and a developer, you’ve got it covered. The box has been checked. Yeah, digital, we’re down with that.

Let me straighten myself up in my chair as I type this.

Between @deziner, @adny and myself, we spend a lot of time here reading, thinking, and writing about digital. It’s difficult to keep up, because every damn day there is a new development. What does @anywhere mean? What is Facebook changing this week? Which Mashable article should I read? How are all the different platforms, properties, channels and touch points best used to create an experience?

Bargaining in the post digital age offers little value to your client. Yes, you may be able to build a site. Maybe even an app. Congratulations on assembling the modern mousetrap. Now the question is, did you just spend all your client’s money on a trap for under the kitchen sink when the mice are actually in the pantry?

Depression

Of course, some in the industry are ready to wave the white flag:

Interesting article. I agree print advertising is dying, it is pretty apparent that people are cutting costs, and investing those funds into online marketing.

Honestly, I’m not sure that anything is dying. But it’s definitely evolving. There’s less to feel down about and more to be excited about due to the endless new opportunities that lie ahead of us. How can you watch the Wired approach to storytelling on the iPad and not be inspired? Print isn’t dead. It’s about to be reborn.

The media universe is expanding, and that reality includes consumers who now expect not only to be part of the conversation, but active members of the storytelling process. As creatives, have we lost control? Or is the cavalry finally arriving?

Acceptance

A month ago, I sat in the front row as Edward Boches gave a presentation during which he described himself as an “advertising refugee.” Yesterday, he posted this superb article on assembling and cultivating the new creative team. I had started writing this article a week ago, and planned on ending it with a reference to Edward Boches, and damned if he didn’t write the perfect conclusion for me. This is just one of many gems from his article:

So what do we make if we don’t make stories? Experiences. Experiences that earn attention, invite participation, inspire co-creation, provide utility and inherently generate more content.

Bravo, sir. That’s Friday Morning Bacon material. Rather than “kissing your creative team goodbye,” it offers positive ways to embrace the challenge that lies ahead for us all.

Please, go read it. Then be open to change, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and always be eager to grow. We’re a smart bunch of people. Together we can deal with this.

Google me: A discourse on personal SEO

I’ve seen a fair amount of tweets and posts recently reminding job applicants and college grads to add their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to their resume. I obviously think that’s smart advice, and none other than Dan Schawbel has covered the subject thoroughly in his book Me 2.0. But I wonder if that advice even goes far enough these days. In the digital era, if someone asks for your resume, you should be prepared with a two-word reply:

“Google me.”

In the not so distant future, I believe that reply will separate the front runners from the hopefuls. In a conversation last week, Forrester’s Augie Ray told me “I think we’re already there for some jobs. In fact, I’m not sure anyone needs to ask any longer, it just happens (so one better be prepared.)”

Whether you ever actually utter the phrase or not, “Google me” implies that you understand the pervasiveness of digital, the trail of content you create on a daily basis, and that you’re using it to your best advantage in your job search. By all means, add those hyperlinks to a pdf version of your resume, but also plan for the easiest user experience of all.

Google me.

Of course, this means you’ll have to spend a fair amount of time on your LinkedIn profile. But LinkedIn allows for all those juicy endorsements, associations and clickable information. And it assumes that you have been active enough on Twitter (and prescient enough to grab your name as your Twitter handle) so that Google immediately places you at the top of search results. And of course, you wouldn’t want to skip building a robust Google Profile either.

Soon, I would posit that this will be the expectation, not the exception. At the very least, thinking in terms of personal SEO will give you a huge leg up on your competition, and shows the confidence (and the transparency needed) that Google will turn up everything a potential employer would want to know. And of course, nothing they wouldn’t. Faris Yakob asserts that brands are “the totality of their actions in the world, not what they choose to communicate.” What’s true today for brand names holds true for your own individual name. In fact, should your name come up for an opportunity unbeknownst to you, it’s safe to surmise that someone will most certainly Google you.

The bottom line is, go beyond adding web-based profiles to your resume. Plan and optimize your personal SEO.

Don’t believe it?

Google me.