Monthly Archives: April 2011

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published April 29, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 29, 2011
Metro section

Metro family’s cancer experience online

There’s a new Moncton-based YouTube channel that will be of interest to those whose families are currently experiencing cancer.

Ali Marr’s A Journey Through Cancer YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/cancerjourney) focuses on her family’s experiences as they deal with her father Harley Marr’s terminal prostate cancer. Diagnosed five years ago, Harley’s cancer has spread to his bones.

Videos will be posted daily and will chronicle everything from the mundane to the dramatic, from the happy moments to the touching moments.

While the content may make some people uncomfortable, this is just another version of true reality TV, so to speak. It stars real people going through something that many of us hope we’ll never have to experience.

I think it’s a very brave thing for the Marr family to do. Harley’s wife Jenn says in a video for Harley’s Heroes – their Relay for Life team (www.harleysheroes.ca) – that she decided that she wanted to make a difference as soon as she found out that Harley had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The YouTube channel is just another way to do that in addition to the money she raises every year for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Relay for Life.

By all accounts, Harley has been an inspiration throughout his illness. Although it is a very difficult prognosis, they want to share their journey with anyone who wants to tag along. Reality may not always be pretty, but it can be a powerful teacher.

Please take a moment and subscribe to the Marr Family’s A Journey Through Cancer YouTube channel.

City of Moncton seeks social media leadership

If you work in the realm of social media and are interested in a new challenge, the City of Moncton recently posted a competition for a position called new media communications officer.

According to the posting available through the City of Moncton website (www.moncton.ca) or CareerBeacon (www.careerbeacon.com), “the incumbent manages the development and implementation of the City of Moncton’s online and interactive media initiatives and contributes to the City’s overall web and social media vision and strategies. The role encompasses shaping and executing the City’s online presence, ensuring stakeholder engagement supporting outreach to key online influencers, and monitors the City of Moncton’s ‘voice’ in the social media conversation.”

Sounds very interesting! City management is to be commended for their vision and practicality in continuing to develop internal online expertise in the area of social media. The role will certainly bear future importance in media relations, tourism, emergency communications and citizen engagement.

Hopefully, the new media communications officer will also work with elected officials to train them in how to use social media. Except for a few exceptions (notably Mayor George LeBlanc and Councillors Paul Pellerin and Daniel Bourgeois), Moncton’s city council members are generally absent from social media.

Posting election results discouraged

Canadians go to the polls on Monday, May 2, and a law enacted in 1938 is proving to be mighty outdated now that social media is widely in use.

The law was originally intended to prohibit radio stations from broadcasting election results from one time zone into other time zones where polls were still open. When live television broadcasts came into play, the law still applied and was easy to enforce, especially with only two or three networks. As the years passed and multiple satellite and online television feeds came into play, the law began to show its age.

Today, with social media, the law is basically unenforceable unless the government shuts down Facebook and Twitter, something that is inconceivable in a free and democratic society.

Even though Elections Canada has said it won’t enforce the law unless it receives complaints, anyone convicted can be fined up to $25,000 for broadcasting election results into jurisdictions where the polls have not yet closed. This pretty much means that anyone taking a risk and posting results to Facebook or Twitter on election night will be open to prosecution should someone report them to Elections Canada.

I predict that many social media enthusiasts will blatantly defy the law on election night and post election results on Twitter and Facebook.

I also predict that Elections Canada will choose not to pursue any complaints they receive. The law is unenforceable.

Glee Twitter controversy

Glee, the popular Fox network comedy-drama about a high school glee club, has a Twitter controversy on its hands. A former extra on the show recently tweeted the identities of the prom king and queen from the upcoming May 10 episode, much to the consternation of the show’s executive producer who blasted the extra for the spoiler, previously a well-kept secret. The extra says she did nothing wrong and simply heard the news at a dinner party, not on the set, thus breaking no contractual rules. Regardless, her chances of being on Glee again are pretty much zero.

Idol Chatter review of American Idol’s April 28, 2011, episode — Top 6 results show

Brian Cormier - Idol ChatterAnother of this season’s favourites was sent packing last night — although an earlier show foreshadowed the fact that he likely wouldn’t win.

Casey Abrams proved just a bit too unique for American Idol fans and received the lowest number of votes this week.

Please forgive the error in the column. There was no bottom three or bottom two this week. The results were in random order. The “fact” that Scotty was in the bottom two was not correct. I had a migraine  on Thursday and my brain was not functioning correctly.

At this point, I do believe that James is the frontrunner for the first time this season, but one barn-burning performance by Scotty will turn that around pretty quickly. I still believe that the last two standing will be James and Scotty.

To read how last night’s show went down, click on one of the links below:

Moncton Times & Transcript: Click here

Fredericton Daily Gleaner: Click here

Tune in to Fox next Wednesday at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern to watch the Top 5 perform! The big question next week will be whether Jacob Lusk or Haley Reinhart can survive. So far, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina seem like shoo-ins for the Top 3.

Idol Chatter review of American Idol’s April 27, 2011, episode — Top 6 performance show

Brian Cormier - Idol ChatterThe Top 6 performed songs by music legend Carole King this week.

There were definitely some stellar performances last night, including Scotty McCreery, James Durbin and Lauren Alaina. Casey Abrams went back to his bad habit of growling. Oyyy…

Check out my review and predictions for elimination here:

Moncton Times & Transcript: Click here

Fredericton Daily Gleaner: Click here

Tune in to Fox tonight at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern for the results!

Hump Day: Honour Canadian democracy and get out to vote on Monday

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial page

Sometimes, I wonder whether or not Canada would be well served by a good old fashioned national tragedy, devastating war or terrorist act on our soil or a government so evil that it partakes in genocide and the systematic dismantling of everything we hold dear, including public health care and education.

I write this because sometimes I think we’re way too comfortable.

Why? Because a huge chunk of eligible voters don’t even bother to go to the ballot box to take two minutes of their time to mark an “X” next to a candidate’s name.

Next Monday, Canadians will go to the polls in the country’s 41st general election since Confederation.

Millions of Canadians will exercise their civic duty and mark their ballots. Some will also deliberately spoil their ballots in an attempt to send a message. Fair enough. At least they showed up.

Millions, however, will not even bother to take the time out of their day to pick up that stubby pencil, unfold the ballot, mark their “X” and then fold it back up to give to the poll worker who then tears off the security tab proving it’s a legal ballot, followed by you depositing that very important piece of paper in the ballot box.

Let’s go through some of the excuses that people use not to vote.

“Didn’t have time.” People can vote at advance polls and at returning offices for several days before election day. There’s no need to wait until May 2 to cast your ballot. Surely within those several days you can find a minute to write a little “X” on a ballot?

“Didn’t know where to go.” Everyone gets a card in the mail. Even if you’ve moved, you’ll probably get a card destined for the previous resident telling you where and when you can vote. A simple search online will tell you where to vote. Call one of your local candidates, as well. They will give you the right number to call.

“Didn’t have a way to get there.” You can call any candidate and I can guarantee you that they’ll send someone over to pick you up at home and drive you back. If they think you’ll vote for them by providing you with a drive, rest assured that they’ll treat you nicely. You’re under no obligation to vote for the candidate whose team gave you a drive, but it’s considered polite to call the candidate you intend to vote for.

“I didn’t have identification on me.” You need identification to vote. Workers can’t just take your word that you’re the person whose name is on the voter’s card. Taken directly from Elections Canada’s website, the following identification options exist:

1. Show one original piece of identification with your photo, name and address. It must be issued by a government agency. (Example: Driver’s licence.)

2. Show two original pieces of authorized identification. Both pieces must have your name and one must also have your address. (Examples: New Brunswick Medicare card and utility bill – telephone, cable, electricity).

3. Take an oath and have an elector who knows you vouch for you (both of you will be required to make a sworn statement). This person must have authorized identification and their name must appear on the list of electors in the same polling division as you. This person can only vouch for one person and the person who is vouched for cannot vouch for another elector.

Another reason that people don’t vote is, “All politicians are the same.” Oh no, they’re not. Party platforms differ widely in a variety of areas, including emphasis in certain areas that may impact your life more than others. Do some research. Read the pamphlets that show up in your mailbox. Don’t assume everyone’s the same. They’re not.

“I hate elections.” Interesting comment. Many people in Libya, Egypt, China and North Korea would love to have true democratic elections. Talk to any immigrant or refugee from one of those countries and they’ll tell you pretty quickly that Canadians are very lucky to be able to vote freely and without threats of violence – or worse.

“I forgot” Really? Not enough wall-to-wall news coverage and election signs on every corner to remind you?

“One vote doesn’t make a difference.” According to online research I did, the following was decided by one single vote:

King Charles I of England was executed in 1649, a fate decided by one vote.

In 1800, one vote made Thomas Jefferson the U.S. president over Aaron Burr.

One vote can make a difference, including over life or death.

“I can’t be bothered.” Really? Thankfully, the members of our military didn’t say that in the First of Second World Wars. If they couldn’t be bothered, how different would Canada be today?

“All politicians are crooks.” It drives me crazy to hear people say this. While I understand the cynicism, it’s completely untrue. The vast majority of politicians are well-meaning and work very hard every day to help their constituents. Whatever you may think of them, I can assure you that most politicians work seven days per week.

Next Monday, please do your duty for your country as a Canadian citizen. Cast your ballot. Please honour our peaceful democracy by voting.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!Happy Easter! This is my video of my cousin Kelley Mooney singing her approved spiritual lyrical adaptation of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It has gone viral on YouTube and is closing in on 300,000 views after hitting 250,000 views just a few days ago!

The video was recorded on June 1, 2010, at the Monument Lefebvre in Memramcook, New Brunswick, Canada. Kelley was a guest performer at a concert by the Chorale Voce dell’ Anima led by Monette Gould. The concert was amazing and Kelley certainly wowed the crowd with Hallelujah, as you can see by the standing ovation and wild applause at the end. Hallelujah was one of three songs that Kelley performed that night. (The other two were solos.)

The audio clip was aired on CBC Radio’s Weekend Mornings with Stan Carew on Easter morning — April 24, 2011, after receiving several requests from listeners.

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!

Credits:

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

Check out Kelley’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “Wildflowers” here.

And check out Kelley’s cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” here.