Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 Government Shutdown

The year is 2013 and the United States Government has shut down. The last time there was a government shutdown was in 1996 when (then) president Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress couldn't come to an agreement over Medicare. Fast forward 17 years and deliberations have ensued once again.

This time it's another medically related issue leading the forefront that has made the government come to a screeching halt:


What does a government shutdown mean for us and what will be affected? A few things to name are: Recreation (national parks and museums will be shutting down), Medicare/veterans aid, Health Services, Federal employees loss of jobs (non-essential employees), and loan applications... to name a few.

So what does this mean for the average American? For the most part: not much will change. Unless you are a government employee you will still go to work, you will still pay your bills, you will still wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. 

With social media being on the front lines of this spreading news and having #govtshutdown trending on Twitter for an unprecedented amount of time, what effect do you think Social Media has, or will have, during the duration of this shutdown? Has Social Media proved to help the situation or hurt it? How do you think this shutdown would have worked and what would the difference in how the information would have been spread if social media were not "invented"?

Please sound off in the comments. Be sure to keep it civilized and professional, but don't be afraid to voice your opinion. Thanks!


  1. Hey Jake!

    I was a little bit blurry on where we were suppose to post our comment about cultural impact of social media on your blog page. Due to the fact I couldn't find a specific place for it, I decided that your most recent post would be best.

    Something that has really captured my attention through social media recently had to do with the Miss America pageant. (I know you specified that this topic had to be one from the news of this week, but trust me, people are still talking about it.) The winner, was Nina Davuluri. She was formerly known as Miss New York, is an alumni of the University of Michigan and what most people noticed right away, of Indian decent. Now I didn't watch all of the pageant, but I did catch bits and pieces. It never crossed my mind that the fact Nina is Indian even mattered. Yet the moment she was given the crown, all of social media thought it did.
    There was a huge outrage on twitter about how an Indian shouldn't have won Miss America. Some of the tweets were as follows:

    How the fuck does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots
    And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.
    I swear I'm not racist but this is America.
    Egypt dancing? This is America. #MissAmerica
    Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda?

    These comments all clearly show ignorance, disrespect and outright stupidity. Nina Davuluri was born in American, isn't Arab, has never shown any link to Egypt or it's dancing, and most definitely has no connection to Al Queda. These were all comments made by close-minded individuals who are stuck in their way of thinking their perception can be correct. I found this to be saddening and disgusting at the same time. The fact that all of this was posted on social media also led to it being quickly spread, influential to other posters, and create a large and plentiful group of misconceptions. Social media clearly can get a message heard in record time, and definitely has an influence on how people think. However, it can go both ways. Yes, in this case it created a spew of racism and negative thinking, but it can also spread positive news, and open people's minds just as quickly. So although I did not like the outcome of this event, it definitely shows the power of social media, but also helps us recognize that we can use that power for good and dispel the misconceptions we know as "evil".

  2. What effect do you think Social Media has, or will have, during the duration of this shutdown?

    I think the effect social media will have duration of this shutdown will be both positive and negative. Social media will provide a place where people will be able to vent their frustrations, but also have those same frustrations out there for all to see. It will be a place to find other like-minded individuals and connect with them. Whether your message or option is positive or negative, it will be spread to the four corners of the earth in record time. Also, social media has a way of influencing what you think, feel, and your opinions. It has a way of making it harder to listen to your own individual thoughts on a subject because you are bombarded by the thoughts, feelings, fears, and opinions of others. In a lot of way social media hinders us of thinking for ourselves and hid behind computer screens spewing venom; the dark side of social media.

  3. I think social media has a major impact on the government shutdown. First of all many people including myself found out about the government shutdown through social media. On my Twitter, I follow a lot of different news stations. I like to know whats going on right as it happens. I also have CNN and channel 4 (Detroit) updates and breaking news sent to my phone which also keeps me on top of what is going on in the world. That was one of the points that Roger Hart mentioned in his presentation. He said that he was covering a story in California when he was going through his twitter timeline and found many tweets about the death of Dan Wellman in a race in Las Vegas. Another impact that social media has on the government shutdown, is that many government workers have been sounding off on Twitter and stating their opinions on the whole thing. So you can gather what other people who are directly involved have to say about it.

    I don't think social media has hurt the situation, I actually think it is helping the situation. I think it's helping the situation because it is allowing more people to read about what is exactly going on and follow the shutdown as it continues. Therefore I think social media is helping people become more knowledgeable about the situation.
    I think that if it wasn't for social media, many people would have no idea what is going on with the government. If it wasn't for social media, the only ways people would be aware of the shutdown would be if they were to watch the news, read the newspaper, or just over hear it. Which are all common ways of learning about new information, however many people in this world are so busy that they barely have time to sit down and read the newspaper or watch the news. But they might have a quick second to glance on their twitter timeline or their facebook page. Like what Roger Hart said in his presentation, social media is changing and shaping the way businesses work such as Autoweek, and news stations are doing the same thing and using social media to their advantage.

  4. Social media was very important for the government shutdown. Social Media is a way for people to express their feelings. It gave notification immediately to the people all over the world regarding the shutdown. It popped up on my iPad. From the Esterline interview, she said that people are learning and getting educated on topics through Social Media. She suggested blogging to express an interest in a topic. People can blog about this Government Issue. Some people have very strong feelings on the shutdown. Other people have not been affected, therefore they do not care that much about the shutdown. Social Media is a way of communication.

    I think we all have to be careful what we read through social media. People can show racism and hatred through the media. It can ruin a person’s career fast. Some websites can also lead a person to believe certain things on a topic. Topics can be misunderstood regarding such topics as Obamacare and proposals.

  5. The way news stories cycle in today’s world has changed because of social media. It used to be that when a story went live that was the end of it. The way journalists and networks distribute their news via social media platforms has both positive and negative impacts. For example, a positive impact of using social media is the ability to move information quickly among a large group of people, however the downside is you can just as easily pass misinformation. Now days anyone with a cell phone can be a videographer, anyone with a blog can be a reporter and if you have a thousand other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, you can even be a curator. Americans are flocking to social media platforms and voicing their displeasure with this government shutdown (http://on-msn.com/GA2Vtu). Moreover, callously bashing our government leaders. Given the fact that listening plays an important role in the strategy of social media, do you honestly think our President, the Senate, or other Representatives are monitoring these negative conversations about them? These discussions are detrimental and will damage their reputation. Regardless, who is at fault, Congress needs to stop finger pointing and remember who hires them, we do. We vote them in and based on what American’s are saying, this shutdown will be remembered by all, come Election Day.

  6. I'm glad you posted some information about this. I didn't really know what it meant as an average American when the government shuts down. I don't understand why after so many years, people can agree on things, or find a better, more efficient system of doing things.
    I think social media is now everywhere. Social media can reach out to almost everyone whom is out there looking at it. I think it is going to form uninformed citizens of our country. I think young minds can easily be manipulated into thinking certain beliefs because they are so young to even think for themselves.
    I think it has done both, hurt and help situations. I think it helps, for example, I wouldn't of known if the government had shut down for a couple of days because I have been at work. I don't do much social work on the computers at work to see something like this. It was good to be informed later on from Twitter. I think it could hurt us because it shapes and forms opinions when people don't know the facts and truth. I think a lot of truth is twisted and manipulated because of Social Media. People like to make jokes and "nit-pick" at things and it's not allowing people to think for themselves.
    I think the information about the government would just be heard through word of mouth and the news if it wasn't for social media channels

  7. Social Media allows for information to get out there immediately and helps to create reactions that can generate change. This can be good or bad (in the case when all facts are not known). I personally think that the threat of the shutdown is just a tool to try and bring panic and speed things up. Sometimes this is needed to actually get things done.

  8. During the government shutdown, social media will have both a positive and negative effect on the situation. The positive is that the information about the shutdown is being spread worldwide very quickly and informing the public about what exactly is happening here. It will impact the shutdown negatively because some of the information is inaccurate due to some people letting their personal opinions and hatred of the government skew the information that is actually credible. I believe for these exact reasons it will help and hurt the situation. However, at the same time I think social media will impact the shutdown more over in a positive way because the public becomes more informed of the situation. It's up to use to determine whether or not the information is credible. So we need to be held accountable and educate ourselves to know what exactly is true or false. If social media wasn't around, then the news about the shutdown would have come from major news networks via television, radio and newspapers. And the biggest difference would be how fast the information got out to the world. There also wouldn't be as many personal opinions or concerns about the government shutting down. Ultimately, I think social media is allowing us to become more involved with our government system.

  9. The information is definitely available a great deal sooner than it would have been in the past because of social media. However, some of the stuff posted on Facebook is a bit overly scrutinizing, almost ridiculous, but on the other hand, it also offers a different spin that otherwise would not be voiced. I was away from home when the announcement of the shutdown hit the news and it was because of Twitter that I was able to know, almost immediately, what was going on. While I agree with Joe's comment that social media allows us to become more involved, it makes me wonder how much the government is actually paying attention to the comments that are being made. The ramifications from this shutdown does not only affect the government, but those that are part of the government; i.e. air traffic controllers working without pay and military personnel utilizing funds to pay for higher education are now losing this funding.

  10. Social media is where people can go and voice their opinions about what they think and feel about current events, and the government shutdown is no different. I think that social media is going to be used both positively and negatively during this time. Anyone can post on social media, which is also a good and bad thing. It is good because it is a quick outlet for people to learn about the current situation. It is also bad because people who are uneducated about the subject will post their opinions on it. The government and politics are a heated subject and many people have different opinions on it. Because social media is so interactive, it is easy to start an argument when people have opposing opinions. Social media is important during current events because it gets people talking and it is important for people to feel like they have the freedom to openly express how they feel and social media can be that outlet. If social media wasn't invented then I think people would have to rely more on face-to-face interaction and conversation and also go to more traditional outlets like TV or radio. I think that social media is a great way to express emotions on the topic, as long as they are informed and well educated on the information before they are writing about it.

  11. I am very interested to watch the effects of social media on the current government shutdown. The current administration ran their campaign with social media in mind, stating that they would create more transparency with government affairs through online outlets. While many focus on the effect social media will have from a citizen standpoint I think it will be interesting to see if politicians will find a way to use social media to their advantage. So far what I have witnessed on social media and mainstream media, alike, is finger pointing across the isle. Now might be a good time for congress to get honest and sincere with their voters. Well.... thats a stretch, but maybe step away from political jargon for a minute and engage with their followers as to why there is a shutdown. From a citizen and government worker standpoint, social media could be used as a way to deliver an organized message to the government. The key is organization. As guest speaker, Roger Hart noted, anybody with an opinion is given the same chance to post their opinion, no matter how little research is behind it. Hopefully Americans can sift through the garbage that is online and actually find the facts about this shutdown.

  12. Social Media during the government shutdown provides an alternate avenue for people to receive information versus the conventional media outlets - all while allowing a resource for people to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas, and exchange pieces of information. Because people are able to express their opinions, it neither helps nor hurts the situation, it just acts as another conduit for information exchange among people. The shutdown would have happened regards of Social Media, the only difference would have been how information is received among the population. We would have learned about it via conventional media outlets at much later time than we would have now. I remember waiting until 12:01am to read tweets and news stories on Digg (on my iPhone) about whether or not the government had come to a consensus. Without Social Media, I would have been watching major news sources like CNN or MSNBC to discover our governments fate, and the answer would have come a little bit later than had it on Social Media.

  13. Social media will have a huge effect during this government shut down. One thing I can see happening is people directing blame toward politics via social media. One thing twitter allows us to do is publicly talk to one person. So I can bet a lot of people will be tweeting directly at those they believe are responsible for the shut down.

    I think its always hard to gauge if social media is good or bad for huge public problems such as this. It is good in the since that people hear about the issue right aways. The bad side is a lot of misinformation is spread via social media and it is hard to sift through all the crap.

    Without social media I think the shutdown would have be about the same. The only difference is what happens after the news is released. With social media we the people can easily speak our minds about the shutdown. Without social media it would be hard to know what everyone thinks about the topic.

  14. I'm not sure if social media at the national level has helped or hurt the debate over the government shut down, but I do know it has made my personal social media accounts very toxic. I don't see debate, as much as I see wild claims and arguments from family and friends that fall on both sides of the political spectrum. Social media allows everyone to have opinion, and broadcast it to the world while often being based on nothing but false information. Some promote false information purposely. I am amazed by the amount of uninformed people, who make wildly outrageous claims, with no facts or sources to back it up. This is social media.

  15. The different platforms of social media allow for people of all different walks of life to express their feelings and 'facts' of matter to a broad audience. I think in doing so, information projected is skewed and often not sourced. As an effect and also typical american behavior, viewers do not participate in doing their own research and simply believe what they see as a 'valid' reasoning or argument. In this sense, social media has the power to spread fictitious information very rapidly and yet take months to counteract.

  16. The government shutdown will and is affecting so many different activities. My ex-husband is a Federal Employee and because of what he does, he is required to go to work and do the daily job he was given while receiving NO pay. That is crazy if you ask me! How many of you would like to go to work only to be promised your paycheck ‘sometime in the future when the shutdown is over’. How, are government workers in my ex-husbands position, suppose to pay bills? I do not think this shutdown was thought through very carefully and what all the major repercussions could possibly be.
    I believe that anything in the news at all has a chance at hitting social media, including the shutdown. I learned of the shutdown through social media and honestly, with the lives most Americans lead, not many of us have the time to sit down daily and watch the news. We get our information on the go through our devices with social media. I believe that if social media hadn’t been invented yet, the pressure wouldn’t be as great for the Congress to find a way to work together to come up with a solution. This shutdown could potentially go on for a very long time however with the impact through social media citizens of the U.S. can convey their thoughts and opinions and know that somewhere, somehow, it just may be having an impact on the ones in Washington watching the social sites for public opinion. I’m hoping this shutdown ends SOON because otherwise President Obama could end up having to make more concessions for those who are working for the government and unable to pay the mortgage due to his enforced furlough days (working without pay).

    I would think that if this shutdown continues much longer, it will begin to affect even those who do not work for the government. We are looking at government funded pre-schools shutting their doors because they will no longer be receiving government funds as well as kids at school who are on the lunch program. It will affect everyone! Congress needs to find a solution and put it to action to save America from a great recession.

  17. I learned about the government shutdown on Facebook when a friend posted an article. I do not get to watch much TV and when I do I try to do it for pleasure, not to watch the depressing news. Social media has made this shutdown very exposed, in my opinion. Not only are you able to get coverage from news stations, but you are able to see the other side of this situation, of the military and government employees that it is affecting. I have several friends who are furloughed right now and it is not right! This one friend, in particular, is in the military and he was serving overseas during the first year of his son's life and this is no way to repay someone who gave something like that up. I feel that our government, not one person or one party specifically, but as a whole are doing a horrible job trying to make decisions for our country. Sometimes it sounds like a bunch of kids fighting over a toy. Never in my life would I have imagined that our government would be so separated in their opinions of how things should be. Its awful that our so called leaders are not able to come to an agreement on such major issues and the people who have to suffer are, in this case, people who give their all to serve this country.

    I think if this shutdown would have occurred before social media that a lot of the younger generations would not be informed of what is happening. I know in my late teens and early 20s I was not watching the news, but you know that these young adults are watching their Twitter and Facebook accounts. I think that social media is making more people informed of the situation and that it is probably making Americans angrier with our government.