Santiago Swallow

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Santiago Swallow (October 14, 1970 – present) is a Mexican-born American motivational speaker consultant, educator, and author, whose speeches and publications focus on understanding modern culture in the age of social networking, globally interconnected media, user generated content and the Internet. He is a leader in the development of source awareness, and has dedicated himself to helping others know more about media and personality can manipulated in the 21st Century.


[edit] Introduction

Santiago's books and articles discuss how identity can be manipulated organized across multiple online media, especially in the areas of user generated content. He is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on Internet identity and the mediated self. His writings include predictions of many of major developments in the twentieth-first century, including personal virtualization; the use of trust tokens to authenticate personal reputation; and the decisive importance of cross-referenced source and context in an age where the self can be recreated endlessly using powerful online tools. In 2012, Swallow coined the term "socially imagined self," and proposed that self-authentication, as opposed to self-actualization, is the next frontier of human cognitive development. Swallow also started the Santiago Swallow Institute, a foundation for investigating the ways in which the "imagined, inauthentic self" can be propagated and disseminated globally via the Internet. The annual Santiago Swallow "Selfathon," held in Los Angeles every year since 2012, brings experts on identity authentication and the imagined self together to convene and advance the field within both academia and the among the general public.

[edit] Swallow's writings

Swallow's writing have appeared in various publications including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist. His first book, "Self: Imaginary Identities in the Age of The Internet," is due for publication later this year,

[edit] Key ideas

Several ideas run through most of Swallow's writings:

  • Inauthentic and imagined self
  • New technologies of trust, such as "trust tokens"
  • The prediction of the death of the "single" self and a global move to "dissociated" selves and "virtual, multiple personality disorder"

[edit] Criticism of Swallow's work

The Wall Street Journal researched several of Swallow's lectures in 2012 and reported that he sometimes exaggerated facts. Swallow claimed, for example, that Rihanna "was the second most popular "self" on Twitter based on an analysis of how many of her followers were real. Representatives of Lady Gaga complained that Swallow's analysis of her follower authenticity was based on statistically erroneous sampling, a finding the Journal upheld. (Swallow's defense: “I use data to make a point, not in a court of law.”) And while he is known for his prescience, he is not always correct in his forecasts. He predicted, for instance, that the disassociation of self would lead to a revision of the standard definition of Multiple Personality Disorder to include selves that only manifest in the online world. This has not yet happened, nor is it under consideration.

Others maintain that one of Swallow's core concepts—imagined self—is flawed and has never really been proven to exist completely. Critic Dave Rueger said that the notion of "actual self", which is implied in Swallow's work, is in itself imagined and inauthentic, a claim that Swallow disputes.

[edit] Books by Swallow

  • 2013: Self: Imaginary Identities in the Age of The Internet (New York: Harper & Row)