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.)

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