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

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

Japanese disaster scams litter Facebook

While the Internet can be a wonderful tool, it also brings out the worst in scam artists and assorted charlatans. On Monday of this week –only a few days after the devastating earthquake and tsunamis that destroyed parts of Japan — I received my first e-mail request from a scam artist posing as a Japanese businessman wanting me to keep his money in a safe place while he made arrangements to leave the country.

Would I be kind enough to send my banking information to him, including passwords, etc.? Oh sure, let me get right on that. I was saddened, yet not surprised, to see the heartless scammers come out so soon after the tragedy. In this day and age, it happens after every disaster such as this, so it was only a matter of time.

There are many links being posted to Facebook, as well, of supposedly “incredible” Japanese tsunami videos. All you have to do is click “like” on a certain Facebook page or application and allow them to access your personal information in order to watch the video. If the video is not posted from YouTube or a news network such as CNN, CTV or CBC, just run the other way and don’t bother clicking.

Giving up access to your information just to watch a video isn’t worth it. Besides – and trust me when I say this – the Internet is so vast that the video in question is likely available for free and without giving up your entire life story simply by searching for it on YouTube and Google. Be wary of clicking on strange-looking Facebook links regarding the Japanese disaster. People are seeking access to your information and have no intention of showing you that “incredible” video or photo. And if they do, the price may be high.

Should you want to really help the people of Japan, donate through reputable websites such as the Canadian Red Cross ( or World Vision Canada (

Happy birthday, Twitter!

Five years after seeing its first tweet posted, Twitter announced this week that users are posting an average of one billion 140-character status updates per week.

Here are more statistics recently posted to the official Twitter blog to celebrate its anniversary:

– The time it took to reach its billionth tweet after the first tweet: three years, two months and one day. Today, that amount is reached weekly.

– Meanwhile, one year ago, the average number of tweets sent per day was 50 million. Today, that has nearly tripled to 140 million. On March 11, that reached 177 million (likely due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami).

– When Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, a new record of “tweets per second” (TPS) was achieved: 456. That record was shattered at four seconds after midnight in Japan on January 1, 2011, when 6,939 tweets per second were sent wishing everyone a Happy New Year! In January 2008, there were eight employees at Twitter. Today, there are 400, with an average of 460,000 new user accounts per day opened.

Wondering how you’re doing on Twitter?

If you’re tweeting your little heart out, retweeting interesting updates by other people and responding to various questions, you may be interested in Klout (, a rating service that provides an overview of where you stand in the twitterverse (universe Twitter = twitterverse).

Enter your username to find out your overall score, including some statistics on your achievements on Twitter (number of lists on which you’ve been included, a really interesting influence matrix which classifies you as one who participates or listens, whether you’re casual or consistent, and whether you’re sharing or creating).

I ran my name through Klout and was quite happy with where I showed up on the influence matrix. It showed me that while I’m not an obsessive tweeter, I’m considered to be a content creator on the participation side of things. Klout’s influence matrix tells you were you stand – at least based on their own metrics, as well as a list of those tweeters who influence you and who are influenced by you. For the full analysis, you need to sign up for the service.

Also provided are a list of the main topics you tweet about or have retweeted by others. My main ones were American Idol (my guilty pleasure – and I write a column on the show, too), Moncton and New Brunswick.

Aussie high school student’s party goes viral

A 15-year-old Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia, high school student cancelled her sweet 16 birthday party after the event she set up for the party went viral.

According to an article by Nathan Klein published in Australia’s The Daily Telegraph, “Jess” (no last name given in the article) had originally invited her 10th grade classmates, also allowing them to bring a friend. After the invitation went viral and nearly 180,000 (!!) people said they’d be attending, Jess cancelled the party. Recently, 500 people crashed a now-infamous party in Melbourne, Australia, after its details were heavily publicized and shared by Facebook users.

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