Life in the tech age

Andy Beal, an Internet marketing consultant at Marketing Pilgrim and co-author of the book “Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online,” comments on the good, the bad and the ugly of technology in today’s world.

FCW: If you could instantly create one totally new technology tool or capability, what problem would it solve?
Beal: Borrowing from science fiction, I’d love to invent a reputation rewind button. It would allow any organization the ability to go back in time exactly 10 seconds — just enough to stop themselves from hitting Publish on the post, statement or photo that is about to wreck their reputation.

FCW: What disruptive technologies do you see making their presence felt during the next two to four years?
Beal: The combination of social media and mobile [technology] is very exciting. With more of us carrying iPhones and other location-aware smart devices, we’ll be able to take advantage of the intersection of communities and local information. Being able to walk down the street, find restaurants highly rated by my friends and know if they’re eating there tonight will be huge.

FCW: What books would you recommend other tech experts in government read?
Beal: Aside from “Radically Transparent,” I’d recommend “Groundswell,” “The Wisdom of Crowds” and “The Cluetrain Manifesto.”

FCW: Are there any gadgets or new technologies that you think are regrettable?
Beal: Bluetooth earpieces. They were designed to be used while having a conversation on your cell phone, not as a fashion accessory.

FCW: What technology do you find most baffling?
Beal: Social media aggregators such as FriendFeed. I have hard enough time keeping up with conversations on individual platforms. FriendFeed is like drinking water from a firehose.

About the Author

John Zyskowski is a senior editor of Federal Computer Week. Follow him on Twitter: @ZyskowskiWriter.

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