Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Courtesy of everyone’s favourite giant… Friendly Giant! Isn’t YouTube a wonderful thing? There are so many great finds there — including this 1979 clip of Friendly, Rusty and Jerome holding a Halloween concert with all their friends! Rusty wears a pumpkin on his head while Jerome enjoys himself wearing a witch’s hat. Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!

Social Media Matters: Facebook changes have unintended consequence

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Oct. 28, 2011
Metro section

Facebook changes have unintended consequence

During the major changes recently made by Facebook, one of the improvements made was to display larger photos in the newsfeed.

Previously, the photos were smaller thumbnails that made it a bit difficult to see exactly what was in the photo. Now, the photos are much larger.

In many ways, this is a great improvement because it saves a click to get a better view. If you want a larger version of the photo, simply click it and it will open, however the new newsfeed version is large enough for most casual viewing requirements.

What the new photo display feature has done, however, is to spawn the practice of distributing joke photos and life-related quotations (some funny, some emotional, some deep, etc.). If you’re on Facebook, you’ve likely noticed it, too. Some users are posting 10 or more joke photos per day, be they comics, funny animal situations.

Many people are also posting a never-ending stream of quotations. A typical posting will be something that looks like a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board with some sort of deep quotation written.

Harmful? No.

But when a person has hundreds of Facebook friends and dozens of those are in the habit of obsessively posting jokes and quotations, it tends to clog up a newsfeed.

I’m no prude, but someone posted a joke photo the other night that nearly made me vomit. I’m wondering what in the world they could be thinking. I don’t like to post negative updates, but I couldn’t help myself.

Without naming the person or the content of the photo, I vented a bit about people posting disgusting photos.

Unfortunately, I’ve found myself having to unsubscribe from several Facebook friends’ newsfeeds recently. The constant stream of joke photos, quotations and other questionable photos is just too much.

It’s important to put yourself in the position of the people seeing the “joke.”

Are they laughing or are they unsubscribing from you? Moderation is the key.

Scary video warning

With Halloween just around the corner, people all over will be trying to throw a scare into unsuspecting friends. With the advent of social media, this has become especially easy.

Earlier this week, someone posted a link to a video to my Facebook wall called “Watch the boat very closely” (also known as “Look closely at the boat” on YouTube).

In the video, a ship is seen floating in rough waters. Huge waves surround it.

By the title of the video, you assume the boat eventually gets flipped by the large waves and sinks.

Unfortunately for any viewer duped into watching this, it’s meant to scare “yesterday’s lunch” out of you – if you get my drift.

Near the end of the video, while you’re concentrating very closely on the boat to see what’s going to happen, some sort of demon suddenly appears screaming at you.

Your unsuspecting self gets startled and you jump 10 feet in the air, spill your coffee all over the keyboard, scream like a little girl or suddenly need to change your underwear – or a combination thereof.

The person who posted this to my Facebook profile is actually very sweet. Nice as pie, actually. They just thought I would think it’s funny.

To many, it may be funny.

To me, however, I have an absolute hatred of being startled. If someone sneaks up behind me and scares me, they may think it’s funny, but maybe not after my fist needs to be surgically removed from the inside of their brain after I instinctively react and plow them one.

Some people don’t like stuff like this and they don’t think it’s funny.

Furthermore, when you suck someone into watching, you don’t know if they’re holding their child, their pet, have a cup of coffee in their hand or whatever.

Their startled reaction could do more harm than innocent scary “fun.”

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I feature three YouTube channels that you may want to check out. With winter on the way and snow flurries in the forecast, I thought a few weather-related channels would be of interest. Subscriber numbers and video view statistics are as of Oct. 25.

The Weather Network (number of subscribers unknown): Canada’s all-weather channel isn’t very active on YouTube and – inexplicably – doesn’t list the number of subscribers. There are a few interesting videos posted, however, for those of you who are weather watchers. (Most popular video: 2011 Fall Outlook Fashion Forecast with Christina Louiso – 260 views.)

The Weather Channel (4,285 subscribers): This is the American version of Canada’s The Weather Network. This channel is much more active with hundreds of videos posted. (Most popular video: Raw Video: EF5 tornado rips apart house – 754,738 views.) (Video not embeddable. Please click on the link to watch it.)

Environment Canada (294 subscribers): A well-done government channel with many weather-related and other green-type videos for the environmentally conscious among you out there – as we all should be! (Most popular video: Environment Canada Green Tips: How to make your own environmentally friendly cleaning products – 3,047 views.)

Hump Day: The day contains the same number of hours for everybody

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

The Occupy Wall Street movement that has been spreading like wildfire, including to Moncton, certainly has some valid points. There is corporate greed. There is corruption. Big corporate bailouts are given while citizens are left to go under.

The problem is, there always has been and there always will be this stuff going on. For example, banks make huge profits and then zing us with higher user fees. I’m not sure what these protests will change. A part of me thinks it’s all futile and if we just stop supporting corporations we don’t agree with, they’ll simply have to change or die.

I don’t begrudge people the right to protest peacefully. It’s part of democracy. All I’m saying is that if I’m that upset with a business, I just cross the street to go elsewhere. When enough people do that, things will change. I’m not convinced that standing in a park yelling about generic corporate greed will change much of anything.

The one thing that concerns me with some of these protesters, however, is that they seem to be blaming others for their own misfortune or lack of opportunity. While it’s true that many are employed and I hope happy with what they do, many seem to be very angry because they blame “corporate America” for their unhappiness, poverty, unemployed status, bankruptcy, high student loans, inability to buy a home or a car or whatever.

That is what worries me. My perception is that many of them have given over control over their own lives and destinies to the blame game. Figuratively speaking, they’re now lying back in their recliners with their feet in the air and exhaling a big sigh of relief. ‘Phew! I thought I had some control over this. It’s nice to know that corporate America is to blame for my inability to (fill in the blank).’

When world-renowned author and speaker Jack Canfield was in Moncton a few months ago, one of the most profound things I heard him say was that it is impossible to be successful (whatever your personal definition of that is) unless you take 100 per cent responsibility for your life. Stop the blaming of others for your unhappiness or frustration.

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post he wrote on the subject dated April 13, 2010. You’ll find similar words in his books, i.e. The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

“Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing… Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviours. I’ve often said that you are either creating or allowing everything that is happening in your life.

“I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness. External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.”

Imagine how liberating it would be if we all sat back and took full responsibility for our lives. It’s not mom’s fault. It’s not dad’s fault. It’s not my jerk boss’s fault. It’s not my kids’ fault, or my neighbour’s, co-workers’ or my spouse’s or my company president’s. Or the fault of politicians. Or the fault of the richest guy in town.

We all have 24 hours per day. Barack Obama has 24 hours per day. Stephen Harper has 24 hours per day. Bill Gates has 24 hours per day. Oprah Winfrey has 24 hours per day. I have 24 hours per day. You have 24 hours per day.

What we decide to do with those 24 hours is what makes the difference. Am I perfect at carving out my time? Heck no. I sometimes find myself sitting in front the television staring mindlessly and not even knowing what (or why) I’m watching. We all do. The secret here is to minimize that wasteful stuff and maximize the productive. We can’t all be ‘on’ 24 hours per day, but some people make a habit of being ‘off’ for 24.

Those who sit back and blame others for their lot in life are doing themselves a disservice. The minute you take on full responsibility for yourself, the power it gives you radiates – and others see it. They are drawn to you. And they want to help you and work with you. Who wants to work with someone who’s always playing the victim card?

In closing, I believe Jack Canfield said it best:

“When you realize that you-and only you-create your experiences, you’ll realize that you can un-create them and forge new experiences whenever you want. How empowering is that! You must take responsibility for your happiness and your unhappiness, your successes and your failures, your good times and your bad times.”

The victim mentality is so tiresome. When you stop blaming others, only then will you get out of Blame Penitentiary – the prison you’ve built for yourself. The ‘woe is me’ people, the ‘I hate Monday’ people, the ‘I’m not rich because you’re rich’ people. The minute you shed that mentality, you’ll see your life change dramatically.