Category Archives: Social Media Matters

Social Media Matters: Babies, coffee mugs make for new trend

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, May 3, 2013
Metro section

Babies, coffee mugs make for new trend

The newest craze to take the online world by storm has parents everywhere reaching for their coffee mugs.

Baby mugging
Baby mugging sample photo courtesy of the Mommy Shorts blog.

“Baby mugging” is a new fad that involves taking a photo of your baby while holding a coffee mug between the camera lens and the child, thus giving the illusion that the baby is actually inside the mug. You wouldn’t think that something so simple would go viral, but it has.

According to an article published on Mashable.com on April 25, the craze has taken over on Instagram after being recently kickstarted “by blogger Illana Wiles of Mommy Shorts who snapped a pic of her baby, Harlow, in a black mug and posted it to her Instagram (@mommyshorts).”

Most popular media Facebook pages for Canadians

According to socialbakers.com, the five most popular Facebook pages in the media category for Canadians this week are: 1) YouTube (1,571,643 Canadian likes); 2) Facebook (1,490,331); 3) MuchMusic (590,983); 4) MTV (547,319); 5) TSN (403,291). And lest you think Canadians are a conservative bunch, coming up in sixth place is Playboy’s Facebook page with 305,277 Canadian likes among its 8,358,850 total likes. (Statistics current to April 30.)

Top environment-related websites

forestsThis week’s top 10 websites courtesy of Alexa.com focus on the environment. Rankings are current to April 30.

1) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts U.S. seas and skies, guides Americans’ use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, etc.); 2) Care2 (Largest social action network making a difference in healthy and green living, human rights, animal welfare and other important causes); 3) National Park Service: Parknet (Official website of U.S. national parks); 4) Mother Nature Network (Environmental news site); 5) Environmental Protection Agency (Current issues information for the U.S., reports on 17 key environmental topics from air to water, kids page, laws/regulations, etc.); 6) Guardian.co.uk — Environment (News and features from the U.K. about the global environment with sections on climate change, conservation, travel, energy, ethical living, etc.); 7) Environmental Working Group (Non-profit environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C.); 8) Environmental Graffiti (Website dedicated to providing the most useful environmental knowledge and debate); 9) Grist Magazine (Environmental news topics with humour); 10) The Daily Green (According to its description, offers “real green for real people”).

This week’s featured YouTube channels

This week’s featured channels touch on entertainment and gaming, pranks and dentistry — quite a diverse set of subjects! Statistics are current to April 30.

1) Machinima (7,394,737 subscribers): According to its channel description, “Machinima is the number one video entertainment network for gamers around the world, featuring gameplay videos, trailers, original series, livestreams, and the most up-to-date news for the gamer generation.” They’re not exaggerating they say they’re the most popular gaming channel — nearly 7.4 million subscribers and an incredible 4.2 billion (yes, billion) total video views. If you’re into online gaming and haven’t discovered this channel yet, consider yourself in heaven. (Most popular video: Avatar Trailer The Movie (New Extended HD Trailer) — 23,558,872 views.)

2) PrankvsPrank (2,616,471 subscribers): I don’t know how this couple stays together. Their channel is all about pranks — pranks on each other (and then getting revenge) and pranks on other people. I’m not sure why they don’t see the pranks on each other coming, but when you’re getting pranked, even the most mundane daily task can go awry! With nearly 400 million video views and 2.6 million subscribers, their antics are obviously quite popular. (Most popular video: Girlfriend caught cheating prank — PrankvsPrank — 14,317,141 views.)

3) madisonwidentist (8 subscribers): Madison, Wisconsin, dentists Dr. Laura Tills and Dr. Matthew Kutz of Riverplace Dental recently launched a new YouTube channel where they share answers to common dental questions. This is not only an excellent marketing tool for their practice, but also a good educational tool for dentistry in general. They even paid to distribute a news release on PR Web, so they’re definitely taking the project seriously! Uploaded videos so far touch on topics that include distraction for kids visiting the dentist, pain, and the causes of tooth decay. The channel was launched late last summer. I love seeing medical professionals use social media like this. (Most popular video: Dentist Madison WI (608) 222-9142 — 576 views.)

The end of Social Media Matters

This is the final Social Media Matters column for the Times & Transcript. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the approximately 150 columns that have appeared over the past three years as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them! I know I’ve learned a lot in my weekly searches for content. I hope the column has been of value to you, as well.

Many thanks to you, the readers, and also to the editorial staff at the newspaper for making Social Media Matters possible. Please refer to my website and free weekly e-newsletter for some of the same features I covered here every Friday. To subscribe to my e-newsletter, visit my website. (Editor’s note: See subscription area in upper right-hand corner of the website.) See you online!

Social Media Matters: Number of Canadian seniors online jumps

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 26, 2013
Metro section

Number of Canadian seniors online jumps

According to a report published by the CBC on April 18, Statistics Canada says that Internet usage among seniors increased dramatically from 2000 to 2012.

Bertha Kronenberg is one of many Canadian seniors taking to the Internet to keep in touch with friends and family. (Photo courtesy of Revera Inc.)
Bertha Kronenberg is one of many Canadian seniors taking to the Internet to keep in touch with friends and family. (Photo courtesy of Revera Inc.)

The number of online Canadians aged 75 and older increased from five per cent to 27 per cent between 2000 and 2012. As well, according to the article, “A report last year by seniors’ services provider Revera Inc. in partnership with Leger Marketing found that more than half of online seniors older than 75 belong to a social networking site such as Facebook, and more than one-third of them go to those sites daily.”

Seniors who keep in touch with the outside world via social media tend to be healthier, as well, according to a researcher interviewed for the article. “We know from other research that keeping socially active can be very beneficial for wellness,” said Katherine Sellen, a post-doctoral researcher at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab. “Keeping active physically is important but social activity also helps to elevate mood and to help to actually impact healing and it can keep cognitive function ongoing as well as one ages. So what we wanted to do was see if we could actually facilitate that social activity.”

According to Ms. Sellen, researchers have even tried out tablets (the computer kind, not the medication kind) with chronic pain patients, and “it’s had a lot of success,” she says.

YouTube facts and figures

YouTube1) More than one billion unique users visit YouTube each month; 2) More than four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube; 3) 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute; 4) 70 per cent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the United States; 5) YouTube is localized in 53 countries and across 61 languages. Source: YouTube.

Most popular Facebook check-in locations in Canada

FacebookAccording to socialbakers.com, here are the top five locations that Facebook users have check into in Canada over the past year:

1) Toronto Pearson International Airport (506,456 check-ins); 2) Vancouver International Airport (383,507); 3) Aéroport Montréal-Trudeau Airport (245,663); 4) Centre Bell (133,389); 5) Air Canada Centre (90,935).

Top quotations-related websites

Bombings, foiled terrorist attacks, devastating explosions. It’s been a very difficult couple of weeks for many people. The news has been filled with much negativity. While not forgetting those killed and injured who should (and must!) remain in our thoughts, it’s also important to remain positive and hope for the best despite the bad things happening. This week’s top 10 websites courtesy of Alexa.com focus on places where we can find inspirational quotations.

brainyquote1) BrainyQuote (World’s largest quotation site.); 2) Wikiquote (Quote database built collaboratively using Wiki software.); 3) ThinkExist.com Quotations (Thousands of searchable quotes by author, topic and contributor.); 4) Quote Garden (Inspirational, thought-provoking, humorous and literary.); 5) The Quotations Page (Nine different collections of quotes.); 6) Board of Wisdom (Share and debate famous quotes, sayings and witticisms.); 7) The Phrase Finder (Large archive of phrases, sayings, quotations and proverbs, along with their meanings and origins.); 8) Bartleby.com (Classics and general reference works.); 9) About.com — Quotations (Clichés, euphemisms, quotes from famous people, etc.); 10) Inspirational Quotes (Range of inspiring quotations on select topics.)

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Have a favourite YouTube channel? Let me know and I may feature it here. Statistics are current to April 23.

tokyo1) Life in Tokyo (31,683 subscribers): Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Japan? Kevin Cooney is an American who blogs and posts video about his life in Tokyo for the past 11 years “and counting.” You can also follow him on Twitter at @TokyoCooney. “Though I whine a lot, I love this city and Japanese culture,” he writes in his YouTube channel description. Kevin’s channel is immensely popular with nearly 6.5 million total video views to his credit. (Most popular video: Racism in Tokyo — 402,949 views.)

Josh Sundquist2) Motivational Speaker Josh Sundquist (147,150 subscribers): When Josh Sundquist was nine years old, he lost his leg to cancer. As he grew, he decided to devote his life to inspiring others as a motivational speaker and author. When watching his videos, it doesn’t take long to realize that he has an infectious personality and great sense of humour. (Most popular video: Would you want your leg back? Do you have abs? (ask Josh) — 954,196 views.)

slowmo-guys3) The Slow Mo Guys (1,823,860 subscribers): Because everything looks way cooler in slow motion, you don’t want to miss this channel. Gav and Dan shoot their videos in HD using high-speed movie cameras. If you like to watch things blow up in slow motion, this is the channel for you. Apparently, you’d be in pretty good company with nearly two million subscribers who have propelled this channel to more than 200 million total video views. (Most popular video: Giant 6ft Water Balloon – The Slow Mo Guys — 32,328,970 views.)

Social Media Matters: Boston bombings bring out best, worst in social media

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 19, 2013
Metro section

Boston bombings bring out best, worst in social media

The Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week brought out the best and worst in the social media world. From heroes to zeros:

It was clear that social media has made significant progress since the last time a major terrorist attack (domestic or foreign-led) was perpetrated on U.S. soil. On September 11, 2001, in the days before social media, finding loved ones online was virtually impossible.

Boston Marathon 2013 logoIn stark contrast, today, with high-speed Internet, texting and smartphones, relatives and friends worried about those at the site of the bombing were able to find their loved ones quickly. The Boston Marathon’s website also kept running tallies on who’d already finished the race, so those who finished a few hours prior to the attack were likely long gone from the site and safe.

The bad? Hoax photos of children reportedly killed posted to Twitter and Facebook and being shared willy-nilly. Charity scams telling Twitter users that $1 per retweet would be donated to victims. Companies for not understanding that business-related social media posts during tragedies is dumb. And the winner: Epicurious.com’s Twitter team for suggesting post-bombing recipes for you to try. I kid you not.

Top running-related websites

In honour of the runners out there — whether you just jog or participate in marathons — here’s a list of the top running-related websites online according to rankings by Alexa.com. The runners I know are resolute in their goals and dedicated to pushing themselves beyond their limits. It is by using these skills that I hope you continue running in marathons free of the fear of terrorism — or perhaps even despite the fear of terrorism.

Runner's World magazine
Runner’s World magazine

1) Runner’s World Online (Daily running news, tips for beginners and advanced, injury prevention, equipment reviews. U.S. race listings.); 2) Map My Run (Provides running enthusiasts with the tools and community they need to improve their training and become better runners through interactive maps, workout logs, fitness calculators, community groups, etc.); 3) Active.com — Running (Running, training information, racing tips, and race registration); 4) LetsRun.com (Links to news items covering running topics, nutrition and health information.); 5) About.com — Running and Jogging (Regular features, forums and chat as well as nearly 500 tested links to training tips, running gear, hashing, trail running, youth, masters, etc.); 6) Cool Running (News, fitness information, race event calendar, message board, online running log and training tips.); 7) Marathon de Paris (Race standings, merchandise, etc.); 8) New York Road Runners (Running, yoga, health-walking, deep-water running, stretching clinics and training.); 9) The Sports Coach (Brian MacKenzie, senior U.K. athletic coach who provides coaching and training information to improve performance.); 10) MarathonGuide.com (Complete marathon race directory, results, athlete and race news, results, history, etc.)

Top 10 mobile apps for running

CardioTrainer
CardioTrainer

According to an article entitled The Best Mobile Apps for Running written by Kissairis Munoz for HuffPost Healthy Living Canada on November 9, 2012 — so it should still be current — here are the top 10 apps available for runners to use when practising the sport they love. Unless otherwise noted, the apps are available for both Apple and Android versions.

1) CardioTrainer (free — Android only); 2) Couch to 5k ($1.99); 3) Fooducate (free); 4) Ghost Race (free version with fewer features or $0.99, Apple only); 5) iSmoothRun ($4.99, Apple only); 6) MapMyRun + GPS Running (free version with fewer features or $2.99, also available for Blackberry); 7) Nike + Running (free); 8) RunKeeper (free); 9) runtastic (free version with fewer features or $5.99, also available for Blackberry and Windows Phone); 10) Upbeat Workouts for Runners ($2.99, Apple only.)

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Keeping with this week’s theme, the featured channels this week focus on running. Statistics are current to April 16. Have a favourite channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Natural Running Center (2,323 subscribers): This is the companion YouTube channel for the website www.naturalrunningcenter.com. According to its channel description, its mission is “educating all runners on form, footwear, and running naturally.” In total, the channel’s videos have nearly 350,000 views. (Most popular video: Principles of Natural Running with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella — 293,799 views.)

2) insidenikerunning (14,172 subscribers): This is Nike’s official running-related channel that features a number of videos aimed at enhancing your running experience. The channel is very popular with nearly 11.3 million total video views. Playlists include Nike Running Race Coach, Nike Cross Nationals, and Inspiration. (Most popular video: Join the Nike+ Revolution — 3,934,430 views.)

3) The B.A.A. Boston Marathon (751 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Boston Marathon. Current total channel views are slightly less than 300,000. (Most popular video: 2012 Boston Marathon — 37,667 views.)

Social Media Matters: N.Y. first responders issue social media guidelines

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 12, 2013
Metro section

N.Y. first responders issue social media guidelines

In the past few weeks, both the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) have issued new social media guidelines.

FDNYAccording to an article by John Surico published in The Village Voice on April 8, the FDNY issued social media guidelines last weekend following controversy last month over EMTs who were found to using social media in less-than-desirable ways.

“Last month, the EMT son of FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano was caught by the New York Post tweetin’ up a racist storm,” the article stated. “He jeered at minority groups from his computer/phone keyboard, not keeping in mind that, hey, his dad is the head of the FDNY. Also, it was later found that other EMTs were posting pictures of (and then berating) their patients online.”

The NYPD, meanwhile, is asking its officers not to post photos of uniformed officers (either themselves or others) online unless the photos are from official police ceremonies.

Top recipe websites

A few weeks ago, I featured the top brand-related recipe websites based on Alexa.com’s rankings. This week, I’m featuring the overall most popular recipe websites. This week’s statistics are current to April 9.

allrecipes logo1) Allrecipes (Thousands of recipes submitted by home cooks. Searchable database, menu ideas. Recipe reviews and ratings.); 2) Cooks.com (Recipe search, diet and nutrition, cooking articles and community forum.); 3) Epicurious (Recipes, menus, cooking articles, food guides, etc. Search 100,000 recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Self, cookbooks, chefs, and home cooks.); 4) Food.com (Thousands of rated recipes, each with nutritional information. Post a recipe and get its free nutritional analysis.); 5) Simply Recipes (Family food and cooking blog with more than 1,000 tested recipes. Also: photographs and instructions.); 6) BBC Online Recipes (Searchable recipe finder.); 7) Smitten Kitchen (Home cooking blog with an emphasis on simplifying challenging recipes.); 8) What’s Cooking America (Recipes, culinary dictionary, history and legends of some foods, as well as dinner party menu ideas.); 9) Recipe4Living (Large index of user-submitted recipes.); 10) CDKitchen (More than 100,000 searchable recipes that allow users to change serving sizes, print in various formats, share on social media and more.)

Top 10 Android apps

androidThe top 10 Android apps according to the Google Play store as of April 9. The cost of the app (in Canadian dollars) is also provided. 1) SwiftKey Keyboard ($3.99); 2) Titanium Backup Pro Key Root ($6.49); 3) Nova Launcher Prime ($4); 4) HD Widgets ($1.99); 5) Minecraft – Pocket Edition ($6.99); 6) Poweramp Full Version Unlocker ($3.99); 7) Beautiful widgets ($2.69); 8) TuneIn Radio Pro ($5.14); 9) Tasker ($2.49); 10) OfficeSuite Pro 7 (PDF & HD) ($15.29).

YouTube Top 10

YouTubeThese are the current top 10 channels (based on subscribers) on YouTube. Statistics are as of April 9 and are courtesy of socialbakers.com:

1) Smosh (8,936,517 subscribers); 2) New Video Every Tuesday (8,226,845 subscribers); 3) Jenna Marbles (8,157,792 subscribers); 4) nigahiga (7,747,669 subscribers); 5) Rihanna (7,515,294); 6) Machinima (7,103,128); 7) Become a Bro Today! (6,446,088); 8) OneDirectionVEVO (5,824,077); 9) Hola Soy German (video todos los viernes) (5,578,955 views); 10) freddiew / BrandonJLa (5,193,149).

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to April 9. Have a favourite channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Howard Pinsky — Online educator (214,494 subscribers): If you’re a professional graphic designer or just someone who dabbles in it using Photoshop, this channel’s tutorials will definitely interest you. Focusing on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom tutorials, the channel “provides free photoshop training, courses, and support videos for the design community to learn from,” according to its description. With a couple of hundred thousand subscribers and nearly 66 million total video views, the online community is certainly showing their vote of confidence in these tutorials. (Most popular video: Lose Weight FAST In Photoshop! Extreme Makeover! (Photoshop CS4) — 8,668,813 views.)

2) Tutvid Photoshop & Dreamweaver Tutorials (138,608 subscribers): This is another how-to video tutorial channel focusing on graphic design, specifically Photoshop and Dreamweaver software. The channel has been around forever — at least in YouTube terms — having been founded in 2006, and has accumulated nearly 38 million total views. (Most popular video: Dreamweaver Tutorial – Create a basic Webpage Insert Content — 1,395,375 views.)

3) C.G.P. Grey (605,077 subscribers): This channel features a series of fast-paced informative documentary-style videos that aim to answer “complicated” questions such as how one becomes pope, as well as the difference between Great Britain, England and the United Kingdom. The channel has more than 50 million total views. (Most popular video: The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained — 3,924,219 views.)

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.)