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

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

Be wary of “liking” those naughty Facebook pages

In the past week or so, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the number of fathers, family men and business leaders on my Facebook friends list liking apparently “naughty” links that sound provocative. These usually include daughters or young celebrities such as Miley Cyrus.

Curiosity is a normal part of the human condition, but being curious about a possibly underage subject is not always broadcast to all your friends, family and work colleagues, including clients. One Facebook page getting linked to quite often is “Miley Cyrus Gone Too Far?” featuring a provocative photo of someone who could be the 18-year-old singer-actress.

Another is “OMG! Look What happens when FATHER catches DAUGHTER on her WEBCAM”. (I’ve left the original spelling in this.) Of course, it’s accompanied by another provocative photo of a young lady – possibly underage – and yup, there are married family men clicking on it. And yup, it’s being placed in their newsfeed for all the world to see.

Before clicking on these types of scam links, it may be a good idea to run the title of the page through your favourite search engine. The chances of it coming up as a scam are pretty much guaranteed. And you’ll also save yourself the embarrassment of having your credibility chipped away by announcing to everyone on Facebook that you wanted to see the photos or video.

Perhaps it’s really just for research (righhhhtttt…) or you were genuinely concerned about Miley Cyrus or the daughter who got caught by her father (righhhhtttt…), but in the end it’s better to be safe than sorry and just leave those links alone and unclicked. Besides, 99.9 per cent of the time they are hoaxes. Be ruled by your brain, not your hormones.

And if you feel the need to surf for “naughty” stuff online, for the love of Pete don’t do it on Facebook. You might as well put a full-page ad in the newspaper.

Charlie Sheen’s Twitter following explodes

Troubled celebrity Charlie Sheen has reached nearly 2.5 million followers on Twitter after only a few days using the service.

What, however, is the motivation behind following Charlie Sheen? Is because he tweets deep thoughts? Is he pushing valuable charity work? Is he helping the world?

None of the above. While some may be following him because they genuinely like him and because he’s the media’s flavour of the month, I propose that most people following him are like the crowd of people standing on the street below while yelling at the guy on the ledge, “Jump! Jump!” Some say he’s manic. Others say he’s on drugs. Whichever one it is – if at all – something’s not right and he needs some assistance. This appears to be another Anna Nicole Smith tragedy in the making.

One thing is for sure, the guy is not saying anything worth getting 2.5 million followers. If I were Charlie Sheen, I wouldn’t interpret that following as love, respect or anything else close to it. I would bet my bottom dollar that most of them are just waiting to yell, “Jump!” when the time is right.

Reportedly, Sheen now holds the world record for getting more than one million followers in the least amount of time – 25 hours. That’s a lot of people with their necks stuck out their car windows trying to stare at the car accident!

Warner Bros. to stream movies on Facebook

In what could spell trouble for Netflix, Warner Bros. has announced plans to stream content directly over Facebook, bypassing providers such as Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.

Only The Dark Knight is available so far to Facebook users in the U.S., but plans are for expansion into other content in a wider variety of countries, including Canada. To view the content on Facebook, users will need to use Facebook Credits to pay for the transaction. According to Facebook, “Facebook Credits are a virtual currency you can use to buy virtual goods in many games and apps on the Facebook platform.”

“One of our goals is to make our content available as broadly as possible, wherever our fans are,” Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, said in an interview published Tuesday in The Globe and Mail. “It’s really a test, and we certainly do intend to add more titles to the test.”

Candidate refuses to surrender social media usernames and passwords

British Columbia NDP leadership candidate Nicholas Simons took a stand this week and told party officials to take a hike when they demanded his social media usernames and passwords so they could investigate his online footprint.

After paying $15,000 just to enter the race, Simons balked at the request, stating in an interview published in the Comox Valley Record that he had the right to privacy, as did the people with whom he communicated.

The sitting MLA the for provincial riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast will be allowed to remain in the race after reaching a deal with the party. This is a disturbing trend that is rearing its ugly head in other jurisdictions, as well.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.