Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

The role of Poo in digital – it’s everywhere!


Yes – you read it right – this week is all sh*t! Well, to be specific it started with space junk, then turned into poo, then the poop emoji… and here we are. 

The first article from Wired about space junk left me dumbfounded, then unnerved. At the moment, plastics seem to be holding the headlines regarding our waste problems – and rightly so. However, I was astonished to see the statistics on space junk. On the moon’s surface, we’ve left around 200 tons of rubbish – including 96 bags of urine and vomit. And wait, due to the atmospheric conditions of the moon, it will take somewhere between about 10 to 100 million years to break down. Meanwhile, there’s another 3,000 metric tons of space junk orbiting our planet.

Back here, down on earth, we know the situation of waste is becoming critical. The article goes into details:

“…we generate close to 45 million metric tons of waste every single year. That’s the equivalent of over 4,500 Eiffel Towers. Trash that could obstruct a city skyline. But not only do we not see it, most of us don’t even know where it goes.”

That’s enough about garbage – it’s time to consider our human-generated waste – poo in particular. Here are the numbers:

“By 2013, with more than 7 billion people on Earth, the total human output was close to 400 million metric tons (400 billion kilograms) of shit per year.”

Gross!! There are some rather graphic historical descriptions about large cities in Europe and China using different methods, from pigs to fertilisers, to manage loads of the stuff over the centuries. Fast forward to modern times – about 10 years ago, in fact. And our obsession with poop became a digital identity. The poop emoji 💩, introduced by Google in 2008. 

The second article is a fascinating look at how the poop emoji has been used for digital storytelling and marketing campaigns, including the WHO (World Health Organisation) for #WorldToiletDay, WaterAid America also used it for #GiveAShitDay – both campaigns focusing on the issues of health, sanitation and disease. 

A simple, smiling poop pile generated 230 million media impressions and 11,000 new supporters committed to providing clean water and toilets across the globe.

In Japan, there’s even a museum dedicated to the pop culture of the poop emoji! The museum says:

“There is no dirty brown poop in Unko Museum. It’s all colorful, cute and pop design poop.”

It’s an incredible example of digital storytelling and awareness for health – who would have thought piles of sh*t could ever be considered cute??!! 

So while we’re cluttering our world and atmosphere with garbage, we should consider how to adapt the use of digital emojis to bring about changes in attitudes to other aspects of our trashing behaviours.  



Game of Thrones – a final comment

It’s over, done, finished! And we’re delighted that Sansa Stark has survived!! Our own Sansa (one of our 4-legged wellness consultants) has asked us to include this comment from her namesake:

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” ~Sansa, Game of Thrones 

Indeed! Your digital workplace, your collaboration strategy, your intranet – the quote could be applied to all of them! (HT George/Faia)

Notre Dame update

More on the rebuild competition (and submissions via Instagram – of course) – but not a lot about how it will be judged and when the deadline is… Stay tuned!


Amazon reportedly wants to 3D-scan your body for a $25 gift card

Joel says: Amazon wants to learn about your body, but you won’t be allowed to talk about what happens.

Earlier this week a Mashable reporter discovered an online form created by Amazon Body Labs that was seeking participants for a ‘body scanning study’. Those that were interested and signed up were offered a $25 gift card for their data to spend at…Amazon.

What Amazon will be doing with the captured data seems to be quite vague with them stating the study aims to learn about body shape diversity and that it won’t be used for marketing but for internal product research. But participants won’t have control over what Amazon decides to do with it once it has been captured and they’re required to sign an NDA for the project.

This isn’t the first time a major company has paid people in return for handing over their private data. Just a few months ago I wrote about how Facebook had been caught out paying people as young as 13 US$20 to participate in their ‘research program’.

After reading this Mashable article It really got me thinking, are people really happy to hand over such personal information for such a small amount of money? The price they’re paying would barely get you a seat at the cinemas these days but now these massive tech giants know just about everything about you.

Will this be the way of the future? Will it become standard practice for market researchers to just throw pennies at people in return for personal data with such vague outlines for what it would actually be used for? I guess only time will tell.


The new kilogram just debuted. It’s a massive achievement.

Helen says: Did you know that on Monday, World Metrology Day, the universal definition of the kilogram changed? This sounded like a rather significant event but it seemed to come and go with very little fanfare which got me curious – why the change and what does it mean? Well, up until Monday, a kilogram was defined by a small piece of alloy that since 1889 has been housed in a vault in France, under three bell jars and, you guessed it, weighs exactly a kilogram.

Nicknamed Le Grand K, it was the source of truth when it came to referencing weight measurement globally. Copies were made and used to ensure the kilogram was the same whether it be for a manufacturer in the US or home scales in France. However, the object was imperfect. It had actually lost weight over time, the equivalent to that of an eyelash. In reality, a change in weight of Le Grand K means all other kilograms around the world would have to readjust. Scientists needed to find a way to anchor the kilogram to a constant and they have succeeded by pinning it to a constant in nature, the Planck, and it can never be changed. (A Planck was explained as the smallest action an electron can take.)

What this means is that no longer does a governing body need to be consulted on what a kilogram is and scales do not have to be recalibrated against a physical object. The kilogram is now attached to a fundamental concept in the universe, a change described as ‘kind of like a democratisation of mass’. I also liked the observation made that in a world of constant change, this achievement is like a ‘victory against human chaos’; it is something that we can depend on year after year, century after century, perhaps even when the earth is no longer around.’ 

Other definitions also changed on Monday the ampere, the Kelvin and the mole, but the kilogram was the last of the measurements to be tied to an object, the second last one was the meter. It was measured against a metal pole before being tied to the speed of light, another constant of nature. If you are interested in more details, this article was one of the easier reads I found on the subject, and embedded in the article is a podcast if you prefer.


The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones

Jakkii says: Were you a Game of Thrones fan? It seems like most people were (or, I suppose, are), and boy did they have opinions about season 8 and the finale! One fan even remade the ending as a John Hughes film. What about you – did you hate it? If you did, perhaps this article might help you put your finger on why. And, if you loved it, perhaps it’ll help you understand why many people were so passionately disappointed.

In the piece, technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci explores the change in storytelling from sociological in season 1-7 to psychological in season 8 (don’t worry, she also talks about what that means and differences between the two). Despite the fact that I’m one of those weirdos who lost interest in GoT several seasons back and so didn’t watch any of season 8, I found this a fascinating read!

We’ve known the importance of storytelling to us as a species for a long time – there are a zillion articles out there on the subject. What I particularly appreciated about this article was the idea of how changing the basis upon which we tell a story can impact our emotional and psychological responses to it. Additionally, I appreciated the concluding paragraphs in which Zeynep argues why sociological storytelling is important. It’s a fairly long read, but I think a very interesting one – particularly for those keen on understanding storytelling and its power in helping effect social change (that goes for social change within organisations, too).

Warning: if you’re yet to watch it, take care as there are some spoilers from across the GoT seasons.


This Week in Social Media

Politics, democracy and regulation

Privacy and data

Cybersecurity and safety

Society and culture

Extremism and hate speech

Moderation and misinformation

Marketing, advertising and PR


Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: real-life implications of Game of Thrones. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week. 

[This episode and shownotes contain spoilers from season 8 of Game of Thrones]

Our guest:

Tom van Laer, Associate Professor of Narratology at the University of Sydney  

The story this week: 

0:45 Game of Thrones episode sends curveball to children named Khaleesi  

Other stories we bring up: 

Questions of sex and race in the new GoT episode  

Enraged audiences on GoT  

Our previous discussion of the algorithm which tells us which characters die during the final Game of Thrones season  

Tom’s 2014 article looking at GoT (season 4) and the elements of narrative that really draw us in   

Tom’s 2017 article looking at GoT (season 7) and the five reasons why Game of Thrones satisfies our needs  


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