Social Media Matters: April Fools’ jokes rampant online

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 5, 2013
Metro section

April Fools’ jokes rampant online

If you were online this past Monday (April Fools’ Day), you may have been taken in by some of these online pranks:

Twitter announced that users would no longer be allowed to use vowels (including “y”) in their updates unless they paid a $5 per month subscription fee. Meanwhile, Nokia announced that it was introducing a touch-screen microwave oven that could be used while wearing oven mitts. Using eye-tracking technology, the turntable would automatically stop when you looked at it — and the food would cook faster depending on how hungry you looked.

Over at Google, they supposedly introduced Google Nose, a database of millions of scents that you could access through your smartphone. And at YouTube, they announced that the past eight years had been nothing but a big contest and that they would be announcing the winner before shutting down forever.

ThinkGeek announced that it now had for sale a Play-Doh 3D printer for only $49.99. “Connects to your iPad for easy 3D design transfer. Three 2-oz. cans of Play-Doh included.” Furthermore, it could “print in up to three colours at once (blending them like soft serve ice cream).”

Virgin Atlantic announced that it was introducing a glass-bottomed airplane, allowing travellers to see right through the floor. “The new aircraft will offer every passenger the chance of a bird’s eye view with an extra special opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly,” the prank news release stated.

Not to be outdone, Sony announced its new Animalia line — tech gadgets for pets. Among the new products included speakers for hamster cages. “Hamster speakers are perfectly sized to fit into a hamster cage. The speakers play energetic music to encourage hamster-wheel workouts for the little critters.”

Finally, Scope mouthwash teased bacon lovers by posting a fake commercial to YouTube announcing its new flavour, Scope Bacon — “for breath that sizzles!”

Top library websites

library iconI check out Alexa.com every week and find an obscure top 10 list in its rankings archives. There are always some really good finds here every week. A few gems always pop out. This week’s rankings are the top 10 library websites on the Internet. Statistics are current to April 2.

1) The Internet Archive (Preserves websites by taking regular snapshots. Links are provided to older versions of websites.); 2) Goodreads (Users track and rate books and network with other readers.); 3) National Library of Medicine (U.S. national provider of health-related library and information services.); 4) Blackboard (an online education company transforming the Internet into a web-based teaching and learning environment.); 5) Library of Congress (U.S. federal resource of Congress providing research material and updated database on virtually every topic from within the Library’s universal collection of books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts.); 6) Listal (Web-based DVD, music, game and book collection manager.) 7) BibSonomy (Social bookmark and publication sharing system that supports BibTeX.); 8) University of Oxford (Official site for Oxford University.); 9) University of Edinburgh (Official site for the University of Edinburgh.); 10) LibraryThing (Catalogs your books online. Free for up to 200 titles.)

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to April 2. This week, I feature the three most subscribed-to channels by Canadians based on data provided by VidStatsX. Have a favourite channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Gefilte Fish (1,634,265 subscribers): With nearly 850 million video views, this is the third most-popular channel based on Canadian subscribers. This channel is owned by James Wilson of Littleton, Colorado, who creates videos about the video games he likes to play. They’re not my cup of tea, but someone likes them considering how popular the channel is, so who am I to judge? (Most popular video: Wool – 6,310,753 views.)

2) Justin Bieber (2,067,093 subscribers): It’s difficult to write anything regarding social media these days without this Canadian teen idol’s name worming its way into the text. But hey! More power to him! Go Canada! Bieber holds down the second spot for the most popular YouTube channel among Canadian subscribers and has a phenomenal 420 million (and counting) video views. This is his original channel, while his other one — once he went pro – (youtube.com/VEVOjustinbieber) is even more popular overall with nearly 3.9 million subscribers and 3.6 billion (yes, that billion with a “b”) views. (Most popular video: With You – Chris Brown Cover – Justin singing – 43,517,151 views.)

3) Epic Meal Time (4,197,298 subscribers): And this is the top subscribed-to channel by Canadians! Here, our hosts create impossibly grotesque meals and challenge themselves to eat them. Apparently, we Canadians think that’s pretty funny stuff – as do many others from around the world! The channel has more than 150 videos with a total of nearly 530 million views. (Most popular video: Fast Food Lasagna – Epic Meal Time – 18,625,119 views.)

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