Saturday, June 19, 2010

Don't be scared to jump in to social media

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Friday, June 18, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Metro section

Don't be intimidated by social media: A blog post that an online friend made earlier this week really made me think. After much thought and contemplation, Ray Hiltz (newraycom.blogspot.com) has finally started his journey into working full-time in the world of social media, blogging, etc. He's articulate, thoughtful and can write. So, why not?

Well, the fear of having to be perfect was holding him back in expanding his online efforts. I can certainly relate. But at some point, you just have to jump in and make your mistakes, learn from them and move on.

The point is that no one has ever learned a lesson when they were being perfect. We only learn lessons from the mistakes we've made in life - and online.

There's nothing as sad as untapped potential, and it's become abundantly clear that people with few technical skills and little money can now be in business for themselves online. Through the creation of information products, the promotion of others' products through affiliate marketing, creating original content that others find useful, and by cross-marketing all of these initiatives through your blog, video and audio, you can make money online. You just have to do it.

I'm no exception to this - and neither are you if it's something you want to do. There are teenagers out there right now making good, legitimate, honest money online from doing just what I described above. They don't know a world without the Internet.

They'll also never know having a boss telling them to be in certain places at certain times. They'll get paid for their efforts. They'll get paid for their ingenuity. And the more they do, the better paid they'll get.

For us older folks, making money online is a bit more of a challenge. Personally, I've made a little bit - and by a little bit I literally mean a little bit - of money online, but I know that the potential is for so much more. Content creators and writers have it easy in that department - they know how to write and it comes easily to them - but their lack of technical skills sometimes holds them back in their online business goals.

Personally, Ray's blog post hit home. I've been paying hosting fees for a new online social media-related blog for nearly a year. The fee isn't a lot - about $10 per month, but $10 per month for something that's not being updated is a waste of time and embarrassing, especially when the domain name is your own personal brand.

So, what was the delay? I can tell you right now... it was the fear of making mistakes and the fear that things wouldn't be just "perfect."

It's OK to make mistakes online. I rant often about mistakes made by others in their use of social media, but it's the continuation of mistakes after they're pointed out that is the real problem. Social media is so new to so many that we're all bound to make mistakes. I've made them and will continue to make them, but that's no excuse not to start.

If you have a company or are an individual who's thinking of starting an online business, a blog, or diving in to the social media sphere, do yourselves a favour: just do it. When people point out mistakes, fix them and move on. The online world is not a place for perfectionists. Typos on websites can be fixed in 10 seconds and no one will ever know the difference, but not having a blog because you're afraid of typos is like not driving a car because it might get a scratch. It's going to happen. Just accept it and move on. You can correct typos and factual errors in a heartbeat - just own up to them.

Learning to use WordPress: One of the reasons why my new blog has taken so long to get started is that I was intimidated by learning WordPress, a free blogging platform used by millions around the world. It's not impossible to learn, but if you're a bit of technophobe and used to more visual (and idiot-proof) kinds of blog layout platforms (like Blogger), it can seem a bit intimidating at first.

If you want to make your learning curve a bit easier, I suggest investing in a premium WordPress theme. You can start from scratch, of course, which can be quite intimidating, or you can get your hands on a theme and incorporate it onto your WordPress blog. This will give you some basic layout already done and you can tweak things from there. There are lots of free ones, but the best ones (for more serious bloggers) are "premium" themes that you pay for.

The Thesis theme is probably the best known of the premium themes these days. I purchased it last year and never could get my head around it.

Maybe it was my own "paralysis of analysis" attitude when it came to my blog, or maybe because it was for slightly more advanced users than me. Whatever the case, while many in the world swear by it, I eventually abandoned it - and wasted my money - because it wasn't right for me. Thankfully, I recently found Headway, a new premium theme that is taking the world by storm and scoring higher on many reviewers' lists than Thesis. After much research, I got my credit card out and bought Headway. I have not regretted my decision for a second. For a newbie to WordPress like me, Headway was easy to use, very visual and helped get me over the WordPress phobia I'd been suffering for a year.

In only a couple of hours, I went from a blog that looked like garbage to one that was presentable. It's not finished yet and it's only starting - and not even officially launched, but I'm miles ahead of where I was - and in only a couple of days. I'm happy and motivated.

Check out www.briancormier.com if you want a sneak peek! I'll be sharing more of my blogging journey in the weeks ahead. And to those out there thinking of starting a blog, go for it! If you do it right, it may just put a few pennies in your pocket.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"For Good" from Wicked (featuring Nick Pitera)

The Fuplers are coming back!

Can't wait to see new episodes of this hilarious comedy series by Matt Koval on YouTube.

This week's Social Media Matters column...

... touches on just a couple of subjects:

- Getting started in social media even though you're intimidated
- Getting started in WordPress

The column will be posted here tomorrow, however if you'd like to read it right away, click here to read it on the Moncton Times & Transcript's website.

Social Media Matters appears every Friday in the Times & Transcript's Metro section.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wading into poignant memories of old Lewisville

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Although fall is my favourite season, I'm starting to like summer more and more. With central air conditioning in my house, I can actually sleep during those hot and humid days. Also, it's so nice to see all the life around the neighbourhood in the summer.

The construction crews have been working overtime around my house installing new water and sewer pipes on several nearby streets. The city is also installing a new wading pool in Lewisville Park across from my house. There was a wading pool there years ago, but it was taken out after its life had run its course.

As a kid, I remember playing in that pool often. It was painted light blue to give the water the illusion of a blue tint, I suppose. I also remember my parents telling me that there had been a plebiscite in the old Village of Lewisville (amalgamated with Moncton in the early 1970s) when I was very young.

The plebiscite was whether to build a wading pool or a full-fledged swimming pool. The wading pool won, probably due to cost, but also because there were so many young families in the area at the time and they would get more use out of a wading pool.

Lewisville Park has gone through a lot of changes since then. Because I live just a few houses up from where I was raised, I've watched the trees grow from mere saplings to large, majestic trees. I remember spending many hours during the summer in the old village hall that was converted to a park clubhouse after the village amalgamated with the city.

The hall was built in 1967 as part of Canada's centennial celebrations. The village only existed for a few more years after that, so most of my memories of the place were of making crafts and playing pool with the counsellors who worked in the park during the summer.

Eventually, with the neighbourhood changing and getting older, there weren't enough kids to require counsellors during the summer. Years later, the building was demolished after it fell into disrepair and became a hangout for loiterers.

There was also an elaborate fountain in the park that never seemed to work after it was built. It was quite artistic, actually, and made of rocks. I barely remember it ever working and it pretty much became a repository for broken bottles and garbage. Like the hall, the fountain was eventually demolished, too.

It's funny to think back to some of the old playground equipment that was there. There was a large red metal horse that several kids could sit on and push back and forth. When it worked, it would go quite fast and boy, did it squeak!

Thinking back, it was probably about as safe as playing with a chainsaw, but we always had fun. It's gone now as well and was likely sold as scrap metal. And there was the big sandbox, long gone, where we spent many hours playing and getting our shoes full of sand.

There were the monkey bars. Someone always got hurt every year on them by falling off. A photo of my brother hanging upside down from the monkey bars appeared on the front page of this very newspaper way back in 1974, I believe.

The paper also took photos of the rest of us playing in the park. Always wanting to be a journalist, I read the newspaper every day - even way back then. I remember literally crying when the other photos did not show me - except for my elbow. Nearly every kid on the street had their photo in the paper that day except for me. I was distraught.

One of the photos that made it into the paper was of a bunch of us pushing a merry-go-round - at least, that's what we called it. It was round and metal with several handles to hang on to. Your friends would grab on to the handles and twirl you around as fast as possible as you hung on for dear life. Sometimes, the bigger kids in the neighbourhood thought it was funny to really give us a scare and would twirl us with all their might.

They thought it was great fun. We just cried until they stopped. Good times.

Frankly, in today's protective world, I can't imagine that merry-go-round contraption in a playground these days. It was incredibly dangerous and someone always went flying off it like an airplane taking off from the runway. I'm surprised the paramedics weren't on standby.

During summers in the park, we'd always come home tired and played out. Our parents never really knew where we were. Times have changed, because now parents who don't know where their kids are every second of every day are considered to be negligent.

Back then, it was just normal. If someone got hurt at the park, they walked home crying. We went home for lunch. If it rained, we stayed home and watched television or did crafts in the old village hall at the park.

I remember playing with my dinky cars in the ditch in front my house. There are no more open ditches in the neighbourhood today, thankfully. They were filled in more than 35 years ago, but back then they were just as much fun as the park.

I remember crawling through drainage pipes under streets and listening to traffic drive over us. We dammed up the ditches and made roads for our dinky cars. One day, a huge rat the size of a horse popped its head out of a pipe. We screamed and told our parents.

Seeing a wading pool return to the park across the street certainly brought back a few memories for me this week. I hope the kids who use it over the coming years have memories to tell their own kids later on.

That park holds a lot of memories. I marvel at its evolution and the thousands of people who've used it since its creation in the 1950s. Long may it live. It will always hold great childhood memories for me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World video premiere: Kelley Mooney's newly approved lyrical adaptation of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"



This is the world video premiere of my cousin Kelley Mooney's approved spiritual lyrical adaptation of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". She was accompanied by the Chorale Voce dell' Anima led by Monette Gould on June 1, 2010, at the Monument Lefebvre in Memramcook, New Brunswick, Canada.

Kelley was invited by Monette to be a special guest performer at Chorale Voce dell' Anima annual concert. She performed three songs, one of which was "Hallelujah".

Thanks to Léandre Bourgeois for the awesome soundtrack that was synched to my video. Sounds so much better than the original sound from my camera!

Musicians:

Piano: Brigitte Lavoie
Double Bass: Monica Lang
Violin: Marie-Andrée Gaudet
Percussions: Joey Roy

Contacts:

Kelley Mooney: kelleymooney@hotmail.com
Monette Gould: monettegould@hotmail.com

If you enjoyed "Hallelujah", check out a couple of other performances by Kelley:

"Wildflowers"



"Angel"

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about memories of Lewisville Park, where I spent many hours of my youth. I grew up down the street from the park -- and today I live across the street! Lots of memories, including those deadly merry-go-round contraptions (see photo above) that were quasi-lethal.

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

Remember: If it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blogs in plain English


















More DIY videos at 5min.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rufus Wainwright today on CBC Radio's Q

Sons of Admirals: Here Comes My Baby

YouTubers Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike), Alex Day (Nerimon), Edd Plant and Tom Milsom got together to make a video of an old Cat Stevens song. I think they did a pretty good job, don't you!

So here is "Here Comes My Baby" by their group, Sons of Admirals.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Who was demolishing this building... Mickey Mouse?

From CBC News: "The owner of a downtown Vancouver property under scrutiny after YouTube videos captured a botched demolition says he won't comment on what happened until the investigation is complete. The incident made headlines Friday after two videos on YouTube showed two walls of a building under demolition being knocked onto a city street."

Click here for the story and check out the YouTube videos below: