Monthly Archives: February 2011

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published February 25, 2011)

YouTube video shows new side of dish company

Corning uploaded an amazing video to its YouTube channel on Feb. 7 that already has more than two million views. You know Corning, the people who make Pyrex and CorningWare baking dishes and Corelle dishware. They make good, reliable products mostly known to the public for what holds their tuna casseroles.

If your impression of Corning is pretty much that of good and reliable company – yet a bit stodgy and matronly, you’re probably not alone.

However, watch the video they posted to YouTube entitled A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning at youtube.com/corningincorporated and I think you’ll agree that the company is anything but stodgy. The 5:33-long video is incredible, actually – futuristic, innovative, exciting and quite astonishing at times.

The video shows the possibilities of glass in the use of technology, from computerized refrigerators and kitchen countertops to car dashboards, bus shelters and highway signage. I’ve watched the video several times. I’ve also posted it to my blog if you want to check it out there.

This is a great branding move on Corning’s part. Quite frankly, the video dramatically changed the way I look at the company. They’re a heck of a lot more than just sturdy casserole dishes, I can tell you that!

Profiles vs. pages for corporate entities

Once again, I’d like to urge organizations and companies to set up Facebook pages (formerly “fan pages”) instead of creating a profile (like an individual person would do).

Many people – including me – refuse to friend the profile page of a corporate entity because we don’t know who’s on the other end of the computer. When we friend a company, the person on the other end gets access to our personal information. Yes, you can place the company on limited profile status, but most people don’t. If I feel the need to put you on limited profile status, I’m not going to friend you at all.

In the past two weeks, two local organizations that I personally like and support tried to friend me on Facebook. I would love to have their news show up in my newsfeed, but I’m not going to friend their profile because they – as corporate entities – are not using Facebook correctly. They need to set up a Facebook page that allows me to “like” them. That does not give them access to my personal information at all.

If you’re running a charity, business, organization or association and want to interact with your friends, customers or volunteers, invest your time in setting up a page, but don’t set up a profile. Leave profiles to actual humans.

Check out these social media websites

There are a couple of social media news and advice websites that I think are well worth following and reading.

First, check out Grandma Mary, the alter ego of social media consultant Andrea Vahl. I love Grandma Mary, but have to admit I had to get used to the marketing gimmick. It’s pretty easy to get over that, though, once you start looking at the high-quality advice good ol’ grandma (or good young Andrea, depending on how you look at it) gives regarding social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.

She often posts videos on how to fix problems and optimize your Facebook and Twitter experiences. Well worth taking a close look at! You can find Grandma Mary at www.grandmamaryshow.com, facebook.com/grandmamaryshow or @GrandmaMaryShow on Twitter. Through her main website, you can even buy some of her consulting time and pay through PayPal! How’s that for convenience? You can also download free e-book tutorials regarding Twitter and Facebook.

Another website I’ve been reading lately is Social Media Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com), a newsy website that you can subscribe to for daily updates. It’s a great source for the latest news related to social media.

MPs and staff get with the times

Just this week, members of Parliament in Ottawa and some of their staff were finally given authorization to download Facebook and Twitter apps to their government-issued Blackberrys.

As social media grows as a way of interacting and keeping in touch with constituents and members of the media, it was only a matter of time until one of the last bastions fell to the unstoppable allure.

With that said, however, MPs have been told that they’ll still have to dig into their own pockets if they want to buy an iPad. So far, at least, the hot commodities are still not approved for purchase using parliamentary budgets. It’s only a matter of time, though.

Gimme your username and password… or else!

Earlier this month, Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services suspended their controversial year-long practice of demanding prospective employees’ Facebook username and password to check for possible gang affiliations. The practice ceased after a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, but the department insists passing over your username and password was purely voluntary. Rigggght…

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published February 18, 2011)

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, February 18, 2011
Metro section

Pop star Justin Bieber is still the king of YouTube

Everyone’s favourite Canadian mop-top may have lost the best new artist Grammy to Esperanza Spalding (who?), but he remains the king of YouTube with the top-viewed video of all time.

His song Baby (featuring Ludacris) has more than 462 million views on YouTube, well ahead of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, which “only” has 345 million views. Bieber also holds down sixth place with One Time (217 million views).

While most of the top-10 list of all-time most-viewed YouTube videos belongs to music videos, there is a notable exception with one homemade video of seemingly innocent interaction between two young British brothers called Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!, which was uploaded to YouTube nearly four years ago. Since then, the funny video of an older brother getting his finger munched on by his baby brother Charlie has amassed a mind-boggling 281 million views.

Twitter in talks with Facebook?

Rumours are rampant that Twitter is in early talks with Facebook for a possible takeover. There were also rumours about Google taking over Twitter, but those were quashed quickly by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who was recently asked about both possibilities at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

While Costolo flatly denied the Google $10-billion takeover of Twitter rumour, he refused to comment on early talks with Facebook. Could it be that Facebook will be taking over Twitter? If so, it will deal a major blow to Google, which has yet to really pierce through the social media market. Its Google Buzz service is widely seen to have been a major flop. So far, Google’s successful niches remain searching and ads.

I’m no business tycoon by any means, but starting a new social network these days would be tremendously difficult unless it’s a very niche-market service. With the dominance of Facebook and Twitter, I can’t imagine anything else coming along soon that will reach their prominence in pop culture, business and usage.

With companies advertising their Facebook and Twitter feeds, both services have obviously arrived. And if you’re in any kind of communications-related business and don’t at least know the basics of both services, you risk being left in the dust. You don’t need to be an expert, but at least know the basics and the benefits of both for your clients.

Social media increasing divorce rates?

According to a Feb. 11 report on the DailyTech.com blog by Tiffany Kaiser, social media websites such as Facebook and MySpace are starting to pop up often in divorce cases.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, for example, lawyers Lee Rosen of Rosen Law Firm and Alice Stubbs of Tharrington Smith LLP both say that bad spousal behaviour on social media websites is becoming very commonplace as the cause of breakups.

“It’s been really an interesting phenomenon,” Stubbs was quoted as saying in the report. “In the last five years, Facebook, MySpace – all the social networking sites have changed the face of domestic law, and we obtain a lot of evidence from social networking.”

As spouses reconnect with old friends – some of whom are old flames – past relationships are rekindled and the affairs eventually lead to breakups.

United States fanning flames of dissent via Twitter

Social media networks, especially Twitter, played a major part in the planning of major public rallies against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, so much so that the Egyptian government turned off the Internet for a period of time in an unsuccessful attempt to save itself.

While it was too little too late for Mubarak, Algeria has now reportedly started cutting off Internet access to its citizens in an effort to stave off a government overthrow there. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has created two new Twitter accounts to fan the flames of dissent in Iran against hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to a report in USA Today by Gary Strauss and Mimi Hall, the U.S. State Department has created two new Twitter account (@USAdarFarsi and @USAbilAraby) and is tweeting in the Farsi language to reach Iranians in hopes of stirring up the pot in order to hopefully depose Ahmadinejad, a vocal critic of America.

“We want to make sure that our views are being heard by Iranian audiences, especially young people,” State Department spokesman Mike Hammer was quoted as saying in the USA Today report. “Because of the virtual media blackout and restrictions imposed by the Iranian government, we are looking for any way to make sure our positions are clear to all Iranians.”

Big changes to Facebook pages

If you run a Facebook page (formerly called a “fan page”), big changes are coming. Visually, the layout has changed. The tabs have disappeared and moved over to the left-hand side of the page (like in a regular profile).

There are featured photos at the top of the page (again, like a regular profile) and – in an actual much welcomed improvement – you can comment on other profiles as your page. Previously, this was not possible.

Upgrading to the new format is currently optional, but mandatory upgrading is coming in March. Might as well do it now and get used to the new format!

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published February 11, 2011)

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, February 11, 2011
Metro section

The Moron Test among top iPhone apps in 2010

Apple recently released a list of the most popular iPhone and iPad apps of 2010 broken down into two categories: free and paid.

The top 10 free iPhone apps for the year were: Facebook, Angry Birds Lite, Words with Friends Free, Skype, Tap Tap Revenge 3, The Weather Channel, Paper Toss, Bing, Rock Band Free, Talking Tom Cat.

Meanwhile, the top 10 most popular paid iPhone apps were: Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Skee-Ball, Bejeweled 2 Blitz, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, All-in-1 Gamebox, The Moron Test, Plants vs. Zombies, Pocket God.

On the iPad side of the equation, the top 10 free apps for 2010 were: iBooks, Pandora Radio, Netflix, Google Mobile App, Solitaire, Movies by Flixster – with Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb Movies & TV, Kindle, Google Earth, Virtuoso Piano Free 2 HD.

For paid iPad apps in 2010, the top 10 were: Pages, GoodReader for iPad, Numbers, Angry Birds HD, Keynote, Glee Karaoke, WolframAlpha, Pinball HD, Friendly for Facebook, Star Walk for iPad.

Any surprises? Personally, I was surprised that Facebook’s iPad app wasn’t number one on the free iPad list – that is, until I checked online and discovered that there is no official Facebook-developed app for the iPad.

This seems to be a shocking omission, don’t you think? For its part, Facebook says it hasn’t committed resources to developing an app specific to the iPad because the tablet market will be very diversified and committing limited resources to the project isn’t in their plans.

Still, I find this really odd. If I were Apple, I would pay to develop the app myself! The world’s number one social network should have a dedicated iPad app.

Roman Catholics get their own confession app

Believe it or not, American Roman Catholics now have their own confession-related iPhone app – and it even has the church’s blessing! Called “Confession: A Roman Catholic App”, it was created by Little iApps of South Bend, Indiana.

The app, which launched on Jan. 27, received the official blessing of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana. It is apparently the first known app to receive approval from the Roman Catholic Church. The app costs $1.99 U.S. and is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It is meant as an add-on to the sacrament, and not a replacement.

Facebook problems?

If you’re having problems on Facebook, they have a very helpful page called “Facebook Known Issues” that you can find at facebook.com/knownissues. Photos not loading correctly? Other things happening that seem odd? Visit the Known Issues page to see if others are also experiencing the same problems. Often, they are.

The Facebook Known Issues page also provides tabs to report a problem and post a screen capture of what you’re seeing when experiencing an issue that shouldn’t be happening. This helps Facebook employees better determine what the problem is. There’s also a tips tab that helps users do a bit of troubleshooting on their own for basic things such as the latest versions of browsers.

Facebook hysteria of the week

Infamous Canadian convicted murderer Paul Bernardo is not on Facebook. Don’t waste your time joining a group dedicated to kicking him off the social network. He’s not there in the first place.

Correctional Services Canada have already put the word out that it’s not him and have stated that prisoners don’t have access to Facebook, however that hasn’t stopped many well-meaning people from jumping on the bandwagon. A Facebook page called “Help Remove Paul Bernardo from Facebook” (he was never on Facebook!) has accumulated more than 50,000 likes.

Despite a note posted on Jan. 6 by the page’s administrator saying that the page would be removed, it’s still there. Apparently, the content that was objected to was a “fan page” that someone had created for Bernardo. Although it baffles me that someone would create and maintain a Facebook page for a known criminal, other murderers have apparently had Facebook pages created by “fans” for them, too, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and Jack the Ripper.

Canada’s financial regulator proposes social media guidelines

According to a Feb. 8 Reuters report, “Canadian regulators are proposing new guidelines to govern how investment dealers advertise and communicate with clients on popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) set out the proposed guidelines in a draft notice this week, asking dealers to submit comments within 60 days to help mould the new rules.”

Anyone who has dealt with releasing public information regarding publicly traded companies knows that the regulations surrounding such releases are tightly controlled. Social media outlets just complicate matters these days and are being looked at more closely. The guidelines will provide the industry with some much-needed framework surrounding when and how to use social media. For more information on the proposed guidelines, visit IIROC’s website at www.iiroc.ca.