Tag: technology

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Research

A Communications Revolution

It’s remarkable that 40 years ago – as the Beatles sold countless singles about the call for revolution in government, culture, and consciousness – a communications revolution transpired and transformed our world in ways the counter-culture could have never dreamed.

As the WHWG unveils its new website, we want to acknowledge the Internet’s recent birthday and four decades of online communication.  It’s a tribute to how thoroughly this technology has transformed our lives that most of us don’t think twice about instant communication with dozens, thousands, even millions of people across the globe. Read

Digital Services

Wikipedia Reexamines Its Assumptions — or not

Taking a new look at old assumptions is as difficult in the digital world as it is elsewhere — something Wikipedia is currently discovering.  The stewards of the open source site have started asking themselves if they can increase the accuracy of their entries.

As the Financial Times reports, the site’s stable of voluntary editors has not grown apace with its increasing volume of articles.  The result, says the FT, is that entries “will be harder to monitor quality — and vested interests will find it easier to make alterations that reflect their own views.”

Not that the site lacks for accuracy challenges now.  The FT notes that “even optimists… agree with the more skeptical observers on this: that in terms of reliability and service, Wikipedia still has along way to go.”  Yet attempts to “subject changes by newcomers [i.e., new contributors] to approval by more experienced editors and flagging any revisions” have run into intense resistance in the hyper-egalitarian Wiki-corps.

The communications problem here is a familiar one:  The world has changed.  The organization needs to adjust. But both members of the organization (those most involved with Wikipedia are volunteers, not employees) and many of those it serves see the adjustments as violating the values and standards that got the organization where it is today and that they believe in.  Part of leadership in a time of change is to communicate how fundamental values are being preserved, not thrown over, by recognizing that circumstances have changed.

Public Affairs Writing

April Fool’s!

Ever show up for a party on the wrong day?

Hard to imagine, considering invitations are sent by email, responded to by text message, and directions can be accessed by phone. Miscommunication about a date seems, well, a little out-of-date.

But, that’s exactly what happened to French peasants in the 16th century, and today we have April Fool’s Day to commemorate their foolishness.  While it’s hard to pinpoint the very first April Fool’s Day, experts look to 1582 as the origin.  That’s the year Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar.  Since the Pope’s authority did not extend beyond the Papal States and the Catholic Church, it was up to individual countries to adopt this reformed calendar on their own time. Read