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!

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

  1. Great article Brian.

    One note for your readers – The new Facebook Page changes will leave individuals with a much wider range of customizations available. Example of these changes is the ability to display your external website in Facebook with the use of iframes. The old version (currently still active) had it’s limitations.

    Facebook has been strongly positioning itself to be stronger than Google.