Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snowmageddon etiquette - At work

Has it been snowing like crazy where you live? Have you been annoyed by global-warming deniers who confuse weather with climate? Here's how you can deal with them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

Ouch! Gary Coleman threw a temper tantrum on Tuesday's episode of The Insider. Click here for a related news story on the outburst.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RIP Gordon Lightfoot... oh wait... not just yet...

What started as a Twitter-based prank escaladed into a full-fledged who's-gonna-get-the-scoop media frenzy earlier this afternoon when media (some very credible) started to report that Canadian singing legend Gordon Lightoot died last night.

In fact, Lightfoot is very much alive and well. The whole thing was a hoax and red-in-the-face media (including The National Post) and bloggers yanked down the death announcement faster than a teenager could ask, "Who's Gordon Lightfoot?"

Click here for a Globe and Mail story on the "false alarm".

Ruminations on the use of new 'social media'

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Editorial Section
Moncton Times & Transcript

I spend a lot of time online. Ever since I got my first computer back in the 1980s, I've always been interested in online ventures, businesses, blogging and communicating with others. Since the arrival of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, however, the time I spend on the computer only seems to be increasing.

Social media have taken over the way I communicate to such an extent that my home telephone rarely rings anymore. No, it's not because I've suddenly lost all my friends (sniffs armpit to check for deodorant), but because I'm constantly communicating with them in other ways. If it isn't updating Facebook with the minutiae of my life, it's making YouTube videos or spending time with my new obsession: Twitter.

Why would anyone need to call me to say "Hi"? I'm always online telling everyone what I'm up to. And if you're not online, just pick up the Wednesday paper and you'll probably read about whatever has just happened in my life that may be somewhat interesting to you... like a sick cat (who's now better, by the way) or yet another Valentine's Day spent eating a tear-stained frozen dinner for one.

Oddly enough, I'm so busy telling people what I'm up to that no one needs to call me to ask what's new. I've never communicated so much in all my life, but actually speaking to another human being on the telephone seems to have taken a backseat to Facebook status updates or 140-character literary works of art on Twitter.

I'm not the only one who's taken to online social media forums to spread the word on the most recent happenings in their lives. I'm only one of hundreds of millions of people around the world who regularly use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Organizations regularly use Facebook groups to keep their members and communities up to date with what's going on. The site has become an indispensable tool to any person or organization serious about any online presence.

Blatant self-promotion alert: You can even join fan pages for your favourite singers, actors, entertainers... even newspaper columnists! (Hint: Search for "Brian Cormier's Readers and Fans" in Facebook and feel free to join. I give away a new car to every tenth new member... well, not really... but we can pretend.) Although most of the nearly 200 people who've joined so far are personal friends (I know where they live, so they had no choice but to join), I've been pleasantly surprised to find many others I don't know, but who read Hump Day or one of my blogs.

Keeping in touch with others, however, is always a balancing act. I certainly update my Facebook and Twitter way more often than most sensible people, however I hope that I succeed in not being too frivolous. But even if you're posting great content, there's a limit to how often you should tell everyone what you're doing. Just this week, I had to hide the status updates of a Facebook friend who was updating way too often, even for me.

And if you know how often I update, that's like getting a telephone call from Adolph Hitler to tell you that you can't come to his birthday party because you're not a nice person.

As much as Facebook and other social media can be a tool for promoting yourself and increasing your visibility and credibility, it can also pretty much let the world know that you are a huge tool. I've sat there shaking my head at what some so-called social media and communication gurus have posted -- having been motivated by either anger, frustration or just not knowing how to use the technology. Yeah, if you click on 'send,' everyone is going to see that you hate Aunt Minerva's corn chowder (forgetting that she's on your friends list and will see this), or that you think your boss is an idiot (guess who's also on your friends list?).

There are also people who "vaguebook," a term used when people update their Facebook status with emotional riddles. "Can't take it anymore." "Can't believe this is happening." "Can't please anyone." "Had enough of this garbage." "Wish I could do more." There are people on my Facebook list who are pros at this. Of course, what would you do if you saw a status update like that? You'd ask, "What's wrong?" "Are you OK?", etc.

Basically, vaguebooking is a cry for attention. I tend to ignore those updates like the plague, so they'll be waiting a long time for any attention from me. We're not in elementary school, after all.

Then, there are those who invite you to every obscure event going on in the city. I swear, if I get invited to one more knitting trade show, I'll scream. I'm exaggerating, of course. And no, I don't want to be a Facebook 'fan' of every company in town -- especially companies that I have never set foot in. One person has invited me to be a fan of a company in town at least five times and I keep clicking 'no.' I have no dealings with this company, have never done business with them, and likely never will if I get one more fan page invitation. Enthusiasm and pestering are close cousins. Know the difference.

While social media is an essential part of communicating in today's society, it's still a balancing act. If you update often, make sure the content is helpful, funny or informative. Respond to people who interact with you. If you never update and simply lurk around to see what others are posting, you'll likely be deleted from people's lists. I removed close to 100 people a few weeks ago. Some of them hadn't updated their status in a year. Social media needs to be, well, social. And if I'm sharing, I expect others to share, too -- at least a little bit . . . even an iota.

And remember, don't be too self-serving, even if you have a Facebook fan page like "Brian Cormier's Readers and Fans" that could use a lot more members.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This week's Hump Day...

... is about using social media correctly and some of the pitfalls to avoid. We've all had friends who update too often or repetitively about the same thing. I update often, but try to be cognizant of making the updates mean something... or if they don't mean anything, at least be humorous and entertaining.

Ever heard of "vaguebooking"? If you haven't, you'll learn about that, too. And I bet you'll recognize it immediately even though you didn't know there was an actual term for it.

Hump Day appears on page D7 in the editorial section of today's Moncton Times & Transcript and will be posted online here tomorrow.

Remember... if it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Charlieissocoollike: Moustache - A poem

Happy Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day!

Looking for a delicious alternative to traditional flour-based pancakes? There IS hope and you CAN enjoy pancakes again.

Last year, I posted a recipe for almond pancakes that has since become the #1 most popular post of all-time on my other blog: Click here for the recipe.

Looking for a great sugar-free syrup? My favourite and easily availalbe syrup is Sorbee's - pictured to the right. You can normally find it in the sugar-free / diabetic specialty aisle of your supermarket.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Knack" lead singer dead at 57

Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack, died on Valentine's Day after a battle with cancer. He was 57.

Fieger and The Knack shot to fame in 1979 with the monster hit "My Sharona" which went on to become the #1 song of the entire year.

My Sharona

Good Girls Don't

Youth launch national petition to amend Criminal Code to include bullying

WOODSTOCK, N.B. – Rob Frenette and Katie Neu, founders of, a youth-based anti-bullying group are very pleased to announce the official launch of a national petition asking the Government of Canada to introduce legislation on the issue of bullying. This is their second national petition.

Katie Neu, 17, of Kitchener, Ontario, hopes this will bring attention to the issue of bullying across Canada. “Personally, I know the effects of bullying and this petition proposing that the government introduce amendments to the Criminal Code to add bullying is long overdue,” she said.

The petitions were circulated last week and will be presented in the House of Commons by Tobique-Mactaquac member of Parliament Mike Allen.

Rob Frenette, 20, of Woodstock, New Brunswick, hopes that all Canadians, young and old, will take part in signing the petition in their community.

“This petition will affect everyone in Canada. Many people have experienced bullying at least once in their life and, hopefully, with this petition, new legislation can be proposed,” he said.

Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the anti-bullying legislation petition may contact Rob or Katie by e-mail at

Individuals or representatives from all areas, workplaces, communities and schools are invited to get involved with this project.

Anyone interested in receiving more information may send an email to:

Media contacts:

Rob Frenette

Katie Neu

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you're part of a couple, may you spend quality time today with the one you love.

If you're single, may Cupid's arrow find your heart if that's what your heart desires.

Check out these Valentine's Day cartoons...

Cupid is out of work:

The Stupid Cupid (1944):

(Warning: This cartoon contains scenes of violence that may be considered to be politically incorrect in 2010.)

Cupid Gets His Man (1936):