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Friday Fab Five: Chernobyl, SpongeBob, and the Side-Effects of Tech

Wait! Don’t take off for your big weekend plans just yet! You forgot to read the…

Friday Fab 5!

I know, I know, you wouldn’t actually have left without reading it first, right? In any case, it’s time to take a look back at this week on GovLoop and pay tribute to some great content.

The Most Commented Blog of the Week goes to Aaron Silvers and his blog post Why We Text. Aaron came out swinging at the beginning of this week with this post, and caused quite the response among the community with a very impressive 20+ comments with more coming in daily. Not only that, but we have to give Aaron some major recognition for his follow-up posts, diving deeper into the core theme of how technology affects human behavior. Weren’t on GovLoop much this week and somehow missed reading this post? Here’s an excerpt to get you started, and don’t forget to check out his other posts!

Twenty years ago if you wanted to talk to someone in anything close to real time you used your phone to actually talk to someone. No caller ID existed. We simply picked up the phone if it rang. Now we can abstract and filter the person on the other end of a message; using a phone to send text messages asynchronously. Each individual in each exchange decides when and how they will communicate and even respond (or if they will respond at all).

All this simulacra and simulation of face-to-face communication is resulting in interesting *side-effects.

I think the reason why we hit our mobile devices even when we’re together face-to-face is because we’re becoming hardwired to exchange that way. -Aaron Silvers

The Speed of Text

Who’s Texting Whom?

People Who Sit With Us Come First

Start With Me

The Top Forum of the week goes to Shannon Donnelson‘s indicative-of-our-times question: How Has Facebook Changed Your Life? It’s somewhat crazy to think that a simple website could have such an impact on the global economy, and I’d be willing to bet that a large percentage of the world’s population has been impacted by facebook in one way or another. Whether that’s for the better or worse is for you to decide, but in any case, it’s an economic and sociological phenomenon nonetheless. So how has Facebook changed your life? Are you better or worse for it? Here’s a few responses:

For me, Facebook has changed my life forever. It’s the reason I chose to focus my communication degree on digital and online communication and social networking. I love seeing the impact it has had not only on personal lives, but on our government. -Shannon Donnelson

Facebook put and keeps me in touch with old friends and distant family members. However it also shows me the trivia people occupy themselves with like posting about tv shows.

I also keep in perspective that President Obama has 500,000 less friends than Spounge Bob Square Pants. -Carol Davison

The Most Active Group this week may not actually have been the most active in terms of comments, but we’re highlighting them anyway due to sheer awesomeness. The Plain Language Group has seen a lot of attention in recent weeks with more and more people realizing that implementing the plain language act is not just a nice gesture, but an organizational necessity. A discussion recently posted in the group titled Readability based on Reading Level Algorithms from Elizabeth Dunn did, however, drive a significant amount of traffic, and led to an impressive 13 awesomes! So if you’re looking for ways to make your organization’s communication more effective, join the Plain Language Group and jump into the conversation.

For Our Quote of the Week, I thought I would change the mood up a little bit and highlight a more serious, reflective blog post. Earlier in the week, Yaron Gamburg wrote about his personal experience with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of the 80’s (My memories from the Chernobyl disaster). Very poignant and interesting, and I highly recommend everyone taking a look. At the end, Yaron reflects on the effect of the disaster on open government reforms in the Soviet Union, and then on the current situation in Japan:

To this day Ukraine is dealing with this disaster. And for hundreds of years, the area around Chernobyl will remain closed. This disaster also had many implications in the shorter term. The policy of openness of Gorbachev was declared a few months after the disaster, and in fact was the direct result of the intolerable situation created during the disaster when the government hid the truth from citizens and left them to deal with uncontrollable rumors and fears. There are also those who claim that the fall of the Soviet Union began with Chernobyl disaster which showed to the world, but especially to the citizens of the Soviet Union, that their government can not rule the country and is in fact afraid of its own citizens.

The Fukushima disaster is of historic scale, and its impact on Japan and the world will be profound and far-reaching. I hope that the Japanese people would cope better with this disaster. The way the Japanese people and their government are dealing with it gives us real hope for that. -Yaron Gamburg

And finally, Rockstar of the Week goes to James Ferreira and his innovative discussion on what it truly means to “go mobile.” James’ blog post this week titled Going mobile means changing the way we think about computers sparked a very interesting discussion and we had to give him props for being willing to explore new ideas and changing ideologies. It’s not an easy thing to convince people to change the way they’ve been hardwired to think and act. Although, sometimes all it takes is a simple suggestion and then the sparks starty flying as the light bulbs come on. James is the rockstar of the week for trying to start that change- that and he’s the CIO of the New Mexico Attorney General, which is also pretty rockstar worthy if you ask me. So go add him as a friend and keep being awesome, James!

Enjoy you weekend everyone!

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