Social Media Matters: Convenience stores use web to fight crime

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, March 16, 2012
Metro section

Convenience stores use web to fight crime

Mac’s convenience stores, which number more than 2,000 in Canada and more than 3,300 in the U.S., are fighting back against crime by posting store surveillance video footage of robberies and other in-store crimes on Facebook and Twitter. The stores operate under the Couche-Tard and Mac’s brands in Canada and as Circle K stores in the U.S.

Mac's Convenience StoresAccording to a CBC Thunder Bay report published March 13, the chain now posts surveillance videos of crimes committed in its Thunder Bay stores to a corporate Facebook crime-fighting page ( and also promotes them through Twitter at @MacsCrimeBusters What a great idea! Asking Facebook and Twitter users to help catch criminals is a smart move. Many people eagerly share these videos through their accounts. And if there’s one thing everyone should know about social media, it’s this: ‘You can run, but you can’t hide!’ Someone is definitely going to recognize these criminals and report them.

If Thunder Bay residents are anything like Moncton’s Newschaser group on Facebook, these crooks don’t stand a chance!

Singer voices doggie displeasure on Twitter

Jann Arden
Jann Arden with her dog

Canadian singing star Jann Arden, known for being very active (and very amusing) on Twitter, took to the social media outlet several days ago to voice her displeasure at being kicked off a Via Rail train because workers discovered that she’d brought her dog on board.

Pet lovers were probably quite sympathetic to her plight, but I doubt the people of Oshawa were terribly impressed. Why? Well, when Arden was asked to leave the train, they let her off in Oshawa, which Arden went on to describe as ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ Oshawa has a population of more than 150,000 and a census metropolitan area of more than 330,000, so it’s not exactly a one-horse town, so to speak.

Arden was on her way to Ottawa for a performance when she was dropped off ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ Probably not a good time to plan any concerts for Oshawa, I’d say. Regardless, Arden is usually highly entertaining on Twitter and is responsive if you get her attention. Her tweets are usually fun to read – unless you live in Oshawa.

In the world of Canadian celebrities, she’s well worth following.

(Update: Arden has since apologized for the Oshawa reference.)

Twitter hoax alert

If you ever get a direct message from someone you follow on Twitter (and who follows you, as well) that says something along the lines that they can’t believe the photo they found of you online (or a version of that kind of message), it is a hoax. Do not click on the link or your account will be hacked.

If you find yourself hacked like this, delete the direct message containing the link you clicked on (which is part of the direct message) and then change your Twitter password right away. That should then stop the annoying virus from automatically replicating itself among your friends. This is a very common virus because it usually comes from someone you know personally (who’s been hacked) and sounds ‘urgent.’ Beware, though! It’s a nasty trick and can lead to embarrassment.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Since I only featured two YouTube channels last week instead of the usual three, I’ll make up for it this week and feature four. These are courtesy of a post I found on Statistics are current as of March 13. (Editor’s note: Updated with most popular videos. Feature was not functioning temporarily when the column was written.)

1) Improv Everywhere (952,368 subscribers): According to its channel description, ‘Improv Everywhere is a New York Citybased prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 100 missions involving tens of thousands of undercover agents.’ This channel is a lot of fun and, with about 227 million video views divided among 117 videos, is also very popular! (Most popular video: “Frozen Grand Central” – 30,130,315 views.)

2) Penny Pranks (8,480 subscribers): What a great idea! This father-and-son team prank unsuspecting salespeople and others by trying to pay for high-ticket items using only – you guessed it – pennies! Clever! (Most popular video: ‘Hilarious Hidden Camera Penny Prank at Used Car Lot’ – 906,933 views.)

3) Jack Vale Films (255,668 subscribers): Jack Vale is another YouTube prankster who likes to play tricks on unsuspecting victims. The pranks are harmless but are really awkward to watch sometimes. I suppose that’s the goal, though, eh? He’s been featured on television shows such as Lopez Tonight (TBS), Most Outrageous Moments (NBC), The View (ABC) and Pranked (MTV). (Most popular video: ‘The Pooter Volume 4 FARTING IN PUBLIC!’ – 1,797,578 views.)

4) PetTubedotcom (32,848 subscribers): This channel hosts a bunch of cute pet videos, many of which are beyond adorable. The channel describes itself as, ‘From the producers of Planet’s Funniest Animals and Funniest Pet’s and People comes, a new website dedicated to pets and the people who love them. We are opening up our large library of funny animal videos to give you unlimited access to clips that have been featured on television shows and in commercials around the world.’ (Most popular video: ‘Cutest Wrestling Match Ever –’ – 5,322,245 views.)

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