Saturday, June 12, 2010

Corporate tweeters should stay on message

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Friday, June 11, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Metro section

Corporate tweeters: I noticed that a local company has started to tweet so-called "jokes" on their Twitter account. The jokes are as old as the hills and not particularly funny and have nothing - zero - to do with their business.

My first reaction is, "Why?"

My next reaction is, "You must have a lot of time on your hands if business is that slow that you can tweet jokes that have nothing to do with your business."

And my next reaction was shaking my head at the content of the jokes, because they could be taken as insulting by some particularly sensitive people.

This is still one of the major errors I see being done by corporate tweeters, especially those who tweet as themselves and their brand at the same time. They keep tweeting about personal things under their company name. Stop! Just stop! Open up another Twitter account and post your jokes under that account name, not your corporate brand.

Corporate tweeters and Facebook profile managers need to stop this. The people who know you personally probably don't mind, but you're not on Twitter or Facebook as a corporation to make people laugh - unless you're a comedian or that's part of your brand. It makes no sense for a corporate tweeter to post jokes that have nothing to do with their brand. I just don't get it. The same thing goes for corporate tweeters talking about going to lunch somewhere or tweeting about the new purse they just bought.

If you're reading this and you have people working for you who manages social media platforms for your company, please do yourself a favour and check out what they're saying. Are their links showing up properly? Do they know enough to use URL shortening services such as or tiny.url? Do they know enough not to tweet about their personal lives on your corporate account? Do they spell correctly? Do they tweet about negative things that reflect badly on your brand?

If you own or manage a company that has corporate tweeters, it's imperative that you check on what's being posted. No need to be intimidated if you're not on Twitter yourself. You're smart and savvy enough to know what's right and what's wrong. If there are corporate tweets being posted under your name that make you wince, then have a chat with the person posting. If that doesn't work, then change the person posting or get off Twitter until you find the right person to do it for you.

Doing a crappy job on Twitter is worse than not being on Twitter at all. That may sound like an odd comment, but make sure you're truly ready before you leap.

Common spelling mistakes on Twitter and Facebook: Nothing can hurt your credibility more than constantly making spelling mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but there are certain errors that keep coming up time and time again.

"Lose" and "Loose": You lose your pants if they're too loose. I'm amazed at the number of people who make that mistake. I saw a local business organization make the mistake online as I'm writing this column. "What do you have to loose?" they wrote, when they clearly meant "lose."

"It's" and "Its": The dog eats its food because it's hungry. The possessive "its" has no apostrophe. Tattoo that on your brain with permanent ink.

And speaking of apostrophes, they do not belong on plural words. "Rose's roses were in full bloom." Apostrophes are for (most) possessives, not plurals.

"Your" and "You're". Your brother is mad because you're going to the amusement park without him. "Your" is possessive. "You're" is short for "You are."

"They're" and "There" and "Their". They're not going there because their bus was late. Learn the difference and practise.

And my biggest pet peeve, the unnecessary capitalization of common nouns. There is no need to put a capital letter on a word for emphasis. "I'm really Mad at Mary because she showed up late Again!" Only "Mary" needs to be capitalized in that sentence because Mary is a proper noun. Stop using caps on common nouns for emphasis.

So why is a rant about spelling making it into a column on social media? Simple. Good spelling equals more credibility. No one ever winces because you spell something correctly, but if you're trying to sell products or solutions to your followers, your ability to spell correctly can make a huge difference in how seriously they take you. Huge!

Again, if you own or manage a company who employs someone who tweets for you or who manages your Facebook fan page, make sure their spelling is decent-to-excellent. Constant spelling mistakes make you look bad. Yours is the name associated with the atrocious spelling, not theirs.

Social media tidbits: Bangladesh has unblocked Facebook after the social media giant decided to remove groups promoting drawing satirical images of the prophet Mohammed. Officials in the Muslim country considered these images blasphemous and counteracted by banning Facebook altogether. Facebook has since removed the groups.

In Southern California, several high school seniors were suspended just before graduation after organizing a so-called game via Facebook called "Beat the Jew." The group had 40 members. Apparently, the "Jew" was blindfolded and made to wander in traffic while the "Nazis" drove by and tried to tackle and snatch him. The students face being barred from graduation ceremonies. The police are also investigating.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Social Media Matters column...

... touches on the following issues:

- Corporate tweeters
- Common spelling mistakes on Twitter and Facebook
- Social media tidbits

Social Media Matters appears every Friday in the Moncton Times & Transcript's Metro section. The column will be posted online here tomorrow. If you'd rather read it right away, click here to read it on the Times & Transcript's website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who needs a babysitter when you have a dog?

Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I want to whine this week, so I'm gonna. That's why they pay me the big bucks, folks. If my pain makes you smile, then my life will have been all worth it.

Don't you just hate it when you make a make a big batch of shrimp, only to find that you forgot to shell them before you threw them in the boiling water?

Don't you hate it when someone who seems to be in a huge rush pulls out in front of you on the road nearly causing you to rear-end them, only to drive about half the speed limit and slam on the brakes every time a cloud goes by in the sky?

Don't you hate it when you get in back of someone at the bank's ATM machine only to find that it's their very first time using it... and they're paying all their bills... and they don't know what they're doing?

Don't you hate it when someone uses the express lane at the grocery store for a maximum of eight items and then throws enough groceries on the conveyor belt to feed an army of starving people? And don't you hate it even more when it's you who's doing it and you have to suffer the stares of the angry people in back of you? And don't you hate it when you only decided to break the rules because there was no one at the cash, but then the minute you put your huge order on the conveyor belt, 10 people showed up behind you each wanting to buy only one grape?

Don't you hate it when drivers decide to stop in the middle of the road to talk to a friend they see walking down the street? And don't you hate it even more when they don't seem to hear your horn, screams and tantrum telling them to get out of the way? (To the driver of the minivan on Centrale Street in Dieppe on Saturday morning, this means you!)

Don't you hate it when you get up early on a Saturday morning to go to a specific vendor at the farmers' market only to find that they're not there that week or have gone for a long leisurely stroll to visit other vendors, leaving you standing like an idiot with your money in hand with no one around to take it?

Don't you hate it when you buy something without doing the proper research and then by the time you decide it's really not for you, it's way too late to return it? Then you do the research online only to find out that you're one of the poor suckers to have bought something that most of the world thinks is a piece of garbage?

Don't you hate it when you're at a business reception and are introduced to someone only to forget their name three seconds later? And then, of course, a colleague joins the conversation and it's quite evident that you forgot the other person's name. "Bill, I'd like to introduce you to Hey You!"

Don't you hate it when you take your lunch to work, only to decide that you really don't feel like eating what you brought? Then you end up buying something, spending $20 and then the lunch you brought goes bad. Good money management, I tell ya.

Don't you hate it when your pets get really needy for attention only when you're busy and don't have time for them? Then, when you do have time, they run away like you're on fire and radioactive. Cats are especially talented at this. Then, they sit and stare at the back of your head until you feel holes burning into your skull. Then, you give up and pet them because... well... just because. It's hard to hate that.

Don't you hate it when - for the first time in 100 times at the drive-thru - you don't check your coffee before you drive away and there's half a pound of sugar in it when you asked for only cream. This only happens when you don't check your coffee. The 99 times you check your coffee, it is perfect. In science textbooks, this is known as Cormier's Drive-Thru Law. This also applies to fast-food restaurant meals... like when you order a double cheeseburger and arrive home to find that they gave you a bag full of only lettuce with ketchup squirted on it.

Don't you hate it - speaking again of drive-thrus - when the car in front of you orders their Christmas dinner and asks for it to be blessed by the pope, when all you want is a cup of coffee? If you want to order a banquet, get out of your car and go inside. Drive-thrus are for quickie orders, not Christmas dinner.

Don't you hate it when you arrive at the cashier at the coffee shop at the same time as someone else and decide to be nice and let them go in front of you, and then they order coffee for the entire office? And I mean so many coffees that they have to be brought out in a box, never mind a tray... and then they order a billion doughnuts on top of that. Why couldn't they have just admitted they had a big order and let you go first? This is known as Cormier's Two-people-at-the-cash-at-the-same-time Law.

Don't you hate it when you're at a variety store and let an elderly person go ahead of you because they have a bottle of arthritis pain medication and you feel sorry for them and want them to feel better right away? And then they look at you and smile and you hear your guardian angel whisper in your ear, "You did good, Brian. You are one step closer to heaven." And just before the elderly person leaves after finishing their purchase, they say, "Oh, can I get these lottery tickets checked?"... and pulls a stack of tickets six inches thick out of their pocket?

Yeah... me, too.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about some of the annoying things in life... such as drivers stopping in the middle of traffic to talk to friends out for a walk, absent farmers' market vendors, people who order huge meals at the coffee shop drive-thru... and many other little annoyances.

Hump Day appears every Wednesday in the editorial section of the Moncton Times & Transcript. This week's column will be posted online here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Is France's now-famous McDonald's "gay commercial" really trying to sell you hamburgers?

Or is it purely a branding exercise trying to appeal to young people, potential employees and their youth customer base? Me thinks it's purely a branding exercise. This ad is about feelings and perception, not about the food.

I've heard many commentators wondering why this ad is running at all. Well... it's being talked about all over the world and shown for free on newscasts, talk shows, blogs, etc.

Now, you tell me... did McDonald's get its money's worth? The people outside Frence who would hate the ad can "rest easy" that it's not being shown in their country. The people who love the ad get to see it regularly on every talk show, etc.

Again... did McDonald's get its money's worth?

I think so. A brilliant strategy, if you ask me.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Does someone have a tranquilizer dart for this Price Is Right contestant?

LOL @ "Thank you, Jesus." Yes, I'm sure you were high on his list right up there with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and child poverty.

Sunday, June 06, 2010