Social Media Matters: New Facebook hoax making the rounds

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011
Metro section

New Facebook hoax making the rounds

It seems lately that each week brings a new Facebook hoax. With all the positive things that sharing through social media has given us, the rapid spreading of urban legends definitely isn’t one of them.

Well-meaning animal lovers are the latest targets. A photo is circulating like wildfire accompanied by a caption urging dog owners to be careful in parks because cubes of cheese containing nails have been found. And if you know dogs, if there’s one thing they like, it’s cheese!

Please – before you blindly share a scary or urgent-looking item, simply cut and paste a sentence or two from the write-up or description and paste it them into the Google search bar. Trust me, if it’s a hoax, it will show up as such at the top of the results. (Photo courtesy of Naked Security.)

I’m seeing more and more people getting completely fed up with the number of hoaxes being shared on Facebook by well-meaning people. Don’t put a big dent in your credibility. Do your due diligence and make sure what you’ve decided to share is legitimate! Trust no one!

With that said, mistakes do happen. If you find that you’ve unknowingly spread an urban legend or hoax, just erase it so that no one else sees it. If someone points out that your post is a hoax, double check to ensure they’re correct and send them a message thanking them. Then erase the post in question immediately.

You know you’re popular when…

Canadian singing superstar Justin Bieber posted a comment to his Facebook page wall on Tuesday about his new Christmas single called Mistletoe being released on iTunes on Oct. 18. It’s always fascinating to see how rabid his fans are because within only 15 minutes the post had generated more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments. Six hours later, it was up to nearly 40,000 likes and more than 5,000 comments.

That, my friends, is the sign of a very powerful brand. I tip my hat to him.

Worldwide Twitter trends

I believe I’ve mentioned this website in a previous column, but it bears repeating. If you’re wondering what’s trending on Twitter in any given location in the world, a great way to find out is to head over to a website called Trendsmap. There, you’ll find a world map that contains word clouds over various countries with regional trending topics from Twitter.

Click once on the map and drag your mouse to move the map to see more countries. As in other word clouds, the larger fonts denote the strongest trends. Each trend is clickable, so click on the word once and a scrolling screen will pop up showing real-time tweets containing the trending term.

There’s also a very cool search function in the upper right-hand corner where you can type in any location in the world to see what’s trending there if finding something on the map proves to be difficult. (Sometimes, there are so many trends shown in the word clouds that it’s difficult to see all the trends, so the search function sometimes give some clarity regarding trends in specific regions.)

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll find a large list of terms that are trending globally. Trends are also sorted per country and per city. There is also a list of trending videos, which is a good way to see the newest viral videos being shared and promoted in various countries around the world.

If you’re a breaking news and pop culture junkie, then Trendsmap can be an incredibly addictive way of getting a heads up on anything going on in the world before anyone else.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

(Please note: YouTube channel subscriber numbers and video view statistics have been updated from the original column and are accurate as of Oct. 7.)

Each week, I feature three YouTube channels that you may want to check out. All subscriber numbers are as of Oct. 7.

The X Factor (USA) (41,981 subscribers): In stark contrast to its British counterpart (309,934 subscribers), the American version of The X Factor’s YouTube channel freely allows sharing and embedding of its videos. This is great, because by allowing embedding, videos links will play on Facebook and in blogs. The U.S. version of The X Factor is hoping to be the autumn equivalent of the winter and spring juggernaut called American Idol. Depending on the talent they find and how popular some of the talent becomes, it could very well rival Idol. (Most popular video: Chris Rene – Audition 1 – THE X FACTOR 2011 – 4,682,652 views.)

80’s Commercial Vault (7,787 subscribers): If you’re a fan of retro TV commercials, then this is the place for you! Most videos are from the 1980s and 1990s. (Most popular video: 90’s Commercials Vol. 1 – 380,199 views.)

Failblog.org (1,678,718 subscribers): This is one of YouTube’s more cringe-worthy channels, the title of which says it all. I say “cringe-worthy” because you know every video is going to end in a spectacular failure of some sort. (Most popular video: Frustrated Skateboarder Fail – 4,017,614 views.)

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