Gov't Cool? Recalling AT-ATs vs Programming Jedis

Friday, May 5, 2017

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

So yesterday was May the 4th -- or for many Starwars Day. Transport Canada marked the occasion by issuing a recall on AT-ATs (a popular vehicle from the Starwars universe) as did many other departments and agencies.

What I find interesting about the release isn't the release itself but rather how the reaction(s) to it differ from other recent attempts to introduce levity to the government space. I'm mainly thinking of recent job postings for "issues ninjas" and "programming jedis" as a point for comparison.

The radio coverage of the recall this morning (on Live 88,5) was laid back and upbeat, by all accounts it was a good news story of how government can still be cool, hip, and plugged into the zeitgeist. By comparison the online reaction to the job postings (at least inside my filter bubble) was mostly negative. Lots of facepalms and references to it being out of date and out of touch.

I guess the main thing I'm interested in here, is where's the line if any? Why do some attempts at this sort of levity land better than others?

People seem to have strong views, what are yours? I'm very curious.