Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's spring!

If you're seeing this post, that means it's after 2:32 p.m. ADT on Saturday, March 20 -- the official arrival of spring for 2010! Happy spring to everyone!

Be careful when cross-posting updates on Facebook, Twitter

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, March 19, 2010

Welcome to the first edition of Social Media Matters, a weekly roundup of news, questions and tips on social media such Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others.

Have a question about a social media-related topic? Send it in and I'll gladly answer it!

Cross-posting updates: Many people who use Twitter and Facebook have taken to using services that update their statuses on both sites at the same time. While these updates may make sense when sharing links or posting other updates related to what they're doing at that specific moment, there's been a trend of being very careless by placing very Twitter-specific updates on Facebook using language and coding at which Facebook users who don't use Twitter just shake their heads.

Make sure if you're cross-posting updates that you use the correct language for whatever service you're using. On Twitter, for example, Friday is "Follow Friday", when users promote people that their followers may also want to link to. For example, if I follow Joe Smith and I think my followers may think he's interesting, I'll type "#FF @JoeSmith." If you're a Twitter user, this makes complete sense.

If you're only on Facebook, however, and this shows up in your newsfeed, you will sit there staring at it wondering what in the world your Facebook friend is talking about.

Twitter and Facebook users need to be very careful about cross-posting updates that make no sense on the other platform. All this does is confuse your followers and cause you to be hidden in their feed -- or "unfriended". (More about that below.)

Social media is just that... social. You need to take your audience into account if you're trying to make an impact. If you're just an individual, you may not care, but if you're tweeting as a corporation and haven't figured this out yet, then all it tells me (as a heavy user of social media) is that you have no idea what you're doing. If it shows that you have no idea what you're doing, then that impacts my image of your credibility.

My own practice is to not cross-post across different platforms. Twitter users expect to simply see a link; however Facebook users like to see links with more context, such as a short synopsis and photo. Take the time to treat your Facebook followers like Facebook followers. The extra 30 seconds it takes to properly place a link or share a status update on Facebook will only endear you further to your followers instead of annoying them with abbreviated text and code that makes absolutely no sense to them.

Vaguebooking: "Vaguebooking" is another new term flying around these days. Nothing drives me crazier than people looking for pity on Facebook or Twitter. They "vaguebook" when trying to garner attention online.

If you want to lose credibility, write status updates like this: "Can't take it anymore;" "Why is this happening to me?;" "Nothing I do is ever enough;" "Will have to try harder next time."

All these updates do is cause one to wonder, "What's wrong?" In fact, it's just a cry for attention. Unless I know the person very well and such a comment is very much out of character, I will ignore updates like these like the plague.

Another popular vaguebooking technique is placing completely obscure song lyrics in your status update. One person I know placed song lyrics about a marriage breakup in his status update and then wondered aloud why everyone thought he broke up with his wife. Really? You sent out an update that read, "Go on now go walk out the door... just turn around now... 'cause you're not welcome anymore" to 500 friends and you're surprised people think your marriage broke up?

Maybe 10 per cent of your friends who read this recognized them as lyrics from Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", but the other 90 per cent started calling each other for the scoop on what was wrong -- or started rumours. Just be careful and don't blame people for trying to figure out what your vaguebooking updates mean.

Inexperienced corporate tweeters: If you're promoting your company on Twitter, please figure out how to use the service first. Read the myriad of tips available online. Learn the lingo. And if you're tweeting as a brand, i.e. Delicious Cereal Inc., remember that you're tweeting as the brand and not as yourself. If you read a tweet that reads "@DeliciousCerealInc: I went to see Avatar last night and loved it," does that make much sense? If you're tweeting for your company and also want to tweet personally, set up a personal account for yourself.

There are major companies right here in New Brunswick who are committing that faux pas every day, and I shake my head wondering if anyone "upstairs" in management even realizes how amateurish it makes them look. If you're going to play the game, folks, learn some of the rules first... and make sure your staff know what they're doing.

As a corporation, even if you choose not to use Twitter or Facebook, it's always wise to have a staff members scan the landscape periodically to see what's being said about your company. At least take a look at what your competitors are doing. If they're using social media, you can be sure that there's a demand for it. And if not yet, then they'll create a demand and you'd better get on board now before it's too late.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My new "Social Media Matters" column debuts in today's Moncton Times & Transcript

I'm very excited to remind everyone that my new "Social Media Matters" column debuts in today's Moncton Times & Transcript on page F4 in the Metro section. The column will run on Fridays and touch on all things relating to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, websites, etc.

I don't have the official graphic to post here just yet -- the column is THAT new -- but I will do that for the next column. I will post the column here online in its entirety tomorrow, however you can click here to read it now on the Times & Transcript's website.

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations and kind words. There seems to be a lot of interest! I look forward to receiving your questions and suggestions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Idol Chatter: Recap of Top 12 results show aired March 17, 2010

This was the first week of the performance shows when only one contestant would be sent home. It was also announced that the judges' save option would be in play again this year, meaning that the judges would have the power to save a contestant from elimination -- but only once this season, only by unanimous vote, and only up until the Top 5 show.

This week, I got 2/3 of my bottom three predictions correct and was happy to see that my predicted elimination was correct. I haven't been very accurate this year so far, but it should be a bit easier now that the field is norrowing.

To find out how the show went down last night, who was in the bottom three and who was eliminated, click here to read Idol Chatter in the Moncton Times & Transcript or click here to read the column in Fredericton's The Daily Gleaner. Again, a big welcome to Daily Gleaner readers! So glad to have you aboard! I wrote a column for the paper 20 years ago and am glad to be back.

The Top 11 perform next Tuesday beginning at 9 p.m. Atlantic (8 p.m. Eastern) on Fox!

So what do you do when you truly 'hate' someone?

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

So, I'm pretty sure I hate someone. No, not "strongly dislike." No, not "can't stand." I mean that I literally hate them. I hate them with every ounce of my being. It doesn't matter who it is. It doesn't matter why I hate them.

Yes, I fully recognize and confirm that this makes me look about as mature as a toddler crying over spilled milk.

I'm a grown man, for Pete's sake. Don't I have better things to do than waste my time hating someone? Besides, I'm a spiritual person. I believe in positive thinking. I believe that we're all interconnected. I'm not cynical. I believe most people are very well intended in things that they do.

But not this person. In my fantasy world, even Satan has a photo of this person tacked to his dartboard. You've heard of the "do not fly" list? Well, guards at the gates of Hell have only one name on their "do not admit to eternal damnation due to excessive evilness" list... this person's. Even Hitler would be standing on the other side of the gates wiping the sweat off his brow and sighing with relief upon their rejection.

All joking aside, however, I realize that this is entirely my problem.

This person is loved, I'm sure, by family and friends. I'm assuming they're respected by co-workers. I'm pretty sure that even they would hit their brakes if they ever saw a child crossing the street in front of their car. They can't be all bad. Despite that, I hate them anyway.

I believe that we reincarnate into different lifetimes. One soul may live many lives -- often with many of the same people. We reincarnate together to teach other lessons and to experience things. This is how we perfect our souls. (No, I haven't been drinking.) You can reincarnate as a man or a woman... it's up to you. You can reincarnate as a teaching soul (a teacher, a writer, someone who is disabled to teach others compassion or courage), or many other ways.

The interesting thing about this way of thinking is that I also believe some of the people you hate the most in your lifetime are actually close friends on the other side. When you both die, you have a good chuckle over some of the lessons you taught each other when you were "alive," so to speak. So, someone you detest can actually be a very close friend in spirit.

Since I started to read books on such beliefs years ago, it's given me a whole different perspective on people I don't like. When you think that -- on another level -- you're actually very close with that person, it changes your perspective a bit. Today I tend more to think of it along the lines of "What can I learn from my interactions with this person?"

Now, that doesn't mean I'm not going to spray paint graffiti on their angel wings when we meet eventually for that post-lifetime chat on the other side. I'm sure we'll have a good laugh remembering all the funny things we did and said to each other when we took each other so seriously when we were living, however I hope that I at least get a good slap in. Well, that won't work considering we'll both be spirits and my hand will go right through them, but no one said being dead meant having to be rational.

Spiritual beliefs aside, dealing with people you don't like or who give you a very hard time can be extremely difficult. I'm usually pretty good at faking it with people like this. I can smile and schmooze and you'd never know it. Well, now I'm paranoid because that would mean that people who don't like me do the same thing to me. I can handle that, though. It's better than being treated like garbage.

How do you handle being treated like dirt by someone who doesn't like you? Obviously, the chances are that you don't like them either, so there's a danger of escalating the tension by fighting fire with fire. I can tear someone apart verbally or in writing quite well, thank you very much, but I'm getting better at keeping my trap shut when it comes to people I really can't stand. I'm not always perfect, but most of the time I can manage to maintain a stoic and forced silence.

Maybe I should carry around a taser gun? Oh, don't get the wrong idea. It's not to use on the other person... it's for me! If I ever feel like I'm losing control and may "tear them a new one" using my gift for gab or the written word, I would just take out my trusty taser and zap myself into a stupor. I don't think it would do wonders for my health, but it could avoid a few screaming matches.

There are people who argue that "hating" someone means that you don't actually hate them because "hate" is an emotion. Truly "hating" someone would be not caring what happens to them, good or bad.

There's some truth to that, obviously.

So, would I help this person if they were being attacked by a mugger and I witnessed it? Probably. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. Would I yell at them to move out the way if I saw a car barrelling toward them on a street? Probably. Again, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. I may not be perfect, but I'm not a monster, after all. A jerk, maybe, but not a monster.

Once we're both dead someday and in heaven having a cup of tea and laughing about our rivalry in this life, which I truly do hope we do, I'm not sure if I'll be able to resist snapping their halo in half, though -- you know, just for old times' sake.

But -- for now -- we're still alive. I'm not sure when I'll see this person again, but I'll be sure to recharge my taser before I do. Something tells me I'm gonna need it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's March 17 -- and you know what that means! We're all officially Irish for one day! Here's wishing you all a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about how to handle hating someone. Yes, I've decided that I actually hate someone. I know it's childish. I know it's ridiculous. But... I hate them.

In this week's Hump Day column, I explore what it means to hate someone and how we may actually be very close friends with the person we hate -- but only after we're dead.

Clear as mud? Check out today's Hump Day column in the editorial section of the Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted online here tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol: Top 12 performance show recap and predictions (aired March 16, 2010)

The Top 12 have finally arrived! After a couple of months of shows and tens of thousands of hopefuls showing up for auditions, we're down to the last dozen!

Last night, the Top 12 performed songs from The Rolling Stones. While there were no disasters, there were a few who stood above the crowd, but I didn't necessarily agree with what the judges were hearing. For example, I thought Lee was much better than the judges believed he was, and I didn't think Siobhan was as good as they said she was.

I was fully expecting Paige to fail because she'd been tweeting dramatically about having a horrible case of laryngitis, but she did quite well! I was very surprised!

My predictions for the bottom three? Tim, Katie and Lacey. Who's my prediction for going home? Click here to read my Idol Chatter column in the Moncton Times & Transcript or click here to read Idol Chatter in Fredericton's The Daily Gleaner.

I'm very happy to welcome aboard Daily Gleaner readers this week. I found out last Friday that the paper would be picking up the column, as well. Thank you and welcome to those of you reading the column for the first time! I lived and worked in Fredericton for nine years and have fond memories of the city.

To find out if my predictions are correct, tune in tonight at 10 p.m. Atlantic (9 p.m. Eastern) on Fox! It's a bit early in the season for a shocker elimination, but you never know! On American Idol, anything can happen!

Tonight! Matt Andersen and Christian Kit Goguen in concert at Moncton's Capitol Theatre

Blues legend Matt Andersen and Christian Kit Goguen are together on stage tonight at Moncton's Capitol Theatre for an exciting benefit concert to raise money for Karing Kitchen.

Tickets are $19.50 and are available by calling (506) 856-4379 or 1-800-567-1922 and online at Hurry! There are only a few seats left! The concert will be recorded by CBC Canada Live for broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and on Atlantic Airwaves on CBC Radio One.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear some great music and support a worthy cause!

Karing Kitchen provides basic nutritional meals, five days per week, 52 weeks per year, to persons and families on social assistance and disability pensions, transients and the homeless. No one is turned away.

The facility servew between 360 and 450 meals every day, including meals for 45 to 50 children. For most of Karing Kitchen's clients, this is their only full meal of the day -- and the only time someone says, "I care."

Karing Kitchen is located at 75 Alma Street in Moncton, in the basement of St. John's United Church. For more information, call (506) 854-3837.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

YouTuber Nigahiga goes over 2,000,000 (!!!) subscribers

Are you running an hour late today?

It's probably because you didn't put your clocks by one hour ahead at 2 a.m. today... at least if you live in most parts of North America!

If you haven't done so already, put your clocks ahead by one hour!

For more information on daylight time, click here.