This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published July 8, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, July 8, 2011
Metro section

Ignore the rumours, Facebook will remain free

OK, everyone. Read this 10 times if you need to. Even 20. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Even tell your enemies.

There are constant rumours being spread online that Facebook is going to start charging to access the service. These rumours were untrue a few years ago when they popped up. They remain untrue today. They will be untrue in the future.

The most popular recent hoax post reads as follows (verbatim): “It’s official.. signal at 12;20 it even passed on tv. Facebook will start charging this summer.If you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message if not your count will be deleted. p.s, this is serious the icon turns blue, So please put this on your wall.”

There are so many grammatical errors, spacing issues and typos in that warning that I’m surprised that intelligent people are being taken in by it in droves. In the past two days, three of my Facebook friends have posted it. And those are only the ones I saw.

The sheer silliness of the post is what surprises me. As if Facebook would ask you to post something on your wall and spend time programming their system to have your Facebook icon turn blue. Well, first of all, the Facebook logo is blue anyway, so even if you don’t post it on your wall, it will be blue. If you stand on your head and sing Jingle Bells, it will be blue. If you jump up and down and bark, it will be blue.

And apparently your account will be deleted. Really? Facebook has 700 million users and they’re going to start checking every account to see if you posted this crazy message? If you read any warning that Facebook is going to start charging you, just stop the rumours in their tracks and refuse to post these lies. They add to unnecessary and frustrating social media clutter and cause undue stress for many users. And – just as importantly – they make you look really gullible.

July hoax also being posted

Here’s another one that’s driving people crazy, again, posted verbatim: “This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui the one who does not forward ….. will be without money. I’m not taking any chances!”

And in other news, I have some beautiful swamp land in the Antarctic to sell you. In fact, the exact same supposedly “rare phenomenon” occurring in July 2011 happened in July 2005 and will reoccur in July 2016. The hoax says it won’t happen for 823 years, when in fact it will happen again in five.

I’ve received this silly time-waster via e-mail and seen it posted on a number of Facebook updates. It’s a hoax. It’s false. It’s ridiculous. Just stop.

Featured YouTube channels

Every week, I highlight three YouTube channels for you to check out. This week’s theme is the popular paleo/primal diet made popular by recent books such as Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution, Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat, and Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint.

Primal Toad – youtube.com/PrimalToad1 (262 subscribers): This vlogger posts regular videos discussing the primal eating lifestyle, including recipes, advice and fitness tips.

Cave Cooking – youtube.com/CaveCooking (124 subscribers): A small but mighty repository of paleo recipe videos that are sure to please your palate and educate you more.

Mark’s Daily Apple – youtube.com/MarksDailyApple (2,600 subscribers): This is the personal YouTube channel of Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint. He uploads fitness primal diet-related videos on a regular basis.

Google launches Facebook competitor

Once again, Google is launching a potential competitor to Facebook – this time called Google (plus.google.com). It is similar to Facebook but arranges friends in specific circles of influence, allowing you to easily share certain information with only your work colleagues, for example, or your family members.

Google also promises that the privacy features on their new social network will be stronger than Facebook’s but will that do anything to cause any number of Facebook’s 700 million users to bail ship for Google ? I highly doubt it.

Here’s why I think Google is doomed to failure – even if it turns out to be technically better than Facebook. 1) Facebook will copy the “good stuff” in Google , rendering the need to migrate to Google moot; 2) Everyone’s on Facebook and they’re there to share. Difficult to share on Google when your friends aren’t there. 3) Social media network fatigue. I’ve got Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I’m not monitoring another one. Period. I don’t care if it does my laundry and sings me a lullaby at bedtime. Google is the “other one,” so many people won’t even give it the time of day.

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