Monthly Archives: April 2012

Social Media Matters: Facebook growth seems unstoppable

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 27, 2012
Metro section

Facebook growth seems unstoppable

Facebook continues to bulldoze its way into the lives of Internet users – not that there’s anything wrong with that if you are careful with how you use it.

FacebookIn advance of an IPO (initial public offering), the company announced that its user numbers have grown to more than 900 million, while sales in the first quarter of 2012 hit $1.1 billion, resulting in a $205-million profit. According to a CNNMoney report, the number of Facebook users who visited the website in the first quarter of 2012 was 33 per cent higher than during the same period in 2011.

According to the report, of those 900 million users, Facebook estimates that about 45 million (or five per cent) are fake accounts.

Interested in New Brunswick genealogy?

If so, there’s a provincial government website that will set your heart all aflutter if you haven’t already discovered it: the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

The website is definitely one on which you can inadvertently end up spending literally hours, especially if you know the names of your relatives who passed away, were born or were married before 1961. Their searchable vital statistics area is fascinating.

I found copies of death certificates for some of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. These are interesting because the length of stay in the hospital is noted (if applicable), as well as the cause of death. There are many other details, including their birthdates and the names of their parents, making verification of facts that much easier. With so many similar Acadian (in my case) names way back when, it can get confusing. It seems like every boy was Joseph and every girl was Marie.

Mathilde Robichaud
Mathilde Robichaud

For instance, I discovered that my great-grandmother Mathilde (Robichaud) Cormier died on February 11, 1959, at the Hotel Dieu (now the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont University Hospital Centre) and spent eight days there before succumbing to coronary thrombosis and acute pulmonary edema brought on by hypertension (high blood pressure). It even states the funeral home that took care of the arrangements. In her case, it was Frenette’s Funeral Home and the burial took place in the Shediac Road cemetery.

Meanwhile, her mother-in-law was Antoinette (Gautreau) Cormier – my great-great-grandmother. She died on April 25, 1931, at the age of 83, apparently at home because no hospital is listed. Cause of death was a heart attack caused by chronic nephritis and arteriosclerosis. She was buried in the Shediac Road Cemetery on April 27, 1931, and the funeral arrangements were handled by Moncton Undertaking Co.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to April 24. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith

1) Straight But Not Narrow (6,893 subscribers): The recent beating death in Halifax of Raymond Taavel has raised questions about whether or not it was a hate crime (because Taavel was gay) or the act of a mentally ill man on an unescorted leave from a forensic psychiatric hospital. It may have been one or the other – or a combination of both. As the investigation continues, this may become clearer. In the meantime, as people throughout Halifax and beyond have come out to pay tribute to Taavel and protest his violent death, there are definitely straight allies for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community out there. Straight But Not Narrow is a YouTube channel hosted by and featuring straight people that is ‘working to positively impact the way teens view and treat their LGBT peers,’ according to its channel description. Celebrities featured on the channel include Cory Monteith – Finn on Glee – and Ryan Rottman who played Shane on the current revival of 90210. (Most popular video: Josh Hutcherson is Straight But Not Narrow – 570,703 views.)

Sharon Gless
Sharon Gless

2) The Trevor Project (14,057 subscribers): According to its YouTube channel description, ‘The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.’ The organization is based in the U.S. The channel hosts a number of videos, including public service announcements by celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, Sharon Gless of Cagney and Lacey and Queer as Folk, and Chris Colfer who plays Kurt on Glee. (Most popular video: Chris Colfer for The Trevor Project – It Gets Better – 1,120,237 views.)

Dan Savage
Dan Savage

3) It Gets Better Canada (275 subscribers): The It Gets Better movement was founded in the U.S. in 2010 by writer Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller. While the U.S. version of the YouTube channel is much more active than the Canadian version with nearly 44,000 subscribers and 3.5 million video views), the Canadian channel’s only video is worth checking out. The It Gets Better campaign aims to reduce suicides among LGBT youth. The only Canadian edition of the video series features Rick Mercer of The Mercer Report and ballet dancer Rex Harrington, among a number of others. (Most popular video: It Gets Better Canada – 228,568 views.)

Hump Day: Taking a vacation is a tough task for entrepreneurs

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I was never great at taking vacations in the first place, but it’s become much worse since I became a full-time entrepreneur in July 2010.

Previous to that, I would take a couple of weeks at Christmas or a week here and there. Perhaps even a long weekend. For the most part, I would stay home and relax, which was just fine with me. Spending thousands of dollars on travelling and coming back from a vacation completely exhausted never made much sense to me.

But last weekend, I just needed a break. I had stuff to do, of course. I could have done some business planning or got ahead on some column writing. And there’s always getting caught up on paperwork. If you own your business, there’s always a ton of paperwork, receipts to organize for the bookkeeper, banking, filing, invoicing and paying bills.

But like I said, I needed a break, so I decided to just not do anything.

In fact, I explored my cable television supplier’s online offerings of free on-demand movies and actually watched a movie. It was mindless drivel, Scary Movie 3, and I loved every minute of it. I laughed and I enjoyed the stupid puns.

I don’t spend all my time work­ing, but it seems that my mind is always on work. I should be planning. I should be organizing meetings. I should be reading personal development books. I should be this. I should be that.

Actually, what I should be doing is just taking some time for myself and relaxing for longer periods than an hour. As a fairly new entrepreneur, though, I know I’m not alone. It’s very difficult to take time off because when you stop working unless you have some passive income and are making money while you sleep you stop making money.

And when you’re an entrepreneur, especially a consultant, you often don’t know when the next contract is going to fall in your lap either by your hard work or by sheer luck. Sometimes it’s one or the other and sometimes it’s a combination of both.

I know vacations are important, though. I know my fair share of business owners and I’ve seen them struggling with vacations. What will happen with their clients? What happens if they’re asked to submit a bid on a huge proposal that would make their year and they’re not around to do it? What happens if a client falls into crisis? If they use another consultant because you weren’t around, did your vacation end up doing more harm than good?

I already know what the answer to all this is. Plan for your vacation and take it no matter what. Vacations are a time for renewal and rejuvenation. They’re a time to disconnect and relax. Have some fun or just do nothing at all.

I’ve always had an aversion to coming back from a vacation exhausted (been there, done that), so I think I may associate vacations with actually becoming more tired. The idea of a vacation to me is not to hike up some uncharted mountain for two weeks while having to kill and eat local wildlife for sustenance. My idea of a vacation is to lounge about and relax. Read. Watch movies. Watch the ocean. Ahhhh.

Now that, I can handle. Perhaps I should ease myself into this, though. I can’t take two weeks off in a row. Just the thought of it gives me hives. I’m itchy already! But maybe a weekend here or a weekend there. Even an overnighter to start.

Oh I don’t know. I just hate spending money on vacations. They seem like such a waste of time. I prefer the idea of a ‘staycation’ where I can stick around these parts. But then there’s the allure of the computer, including e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. I will literally die if can’t get on to Facebook for more than 24 hours. No, seriously, my heart will stop beating and I’ll die. I’m getting palpitations already. Anyone know where I can buy a home defibrillator?

I know it’s unhealthy not to take a vacation. It’s pretty much impossible to find any concrete evidence that vacations are bad for you, because they’re not. Truth be told, the last vacation I remember taking where I actually pretty much just relaxed was over Christmas in 2009. Yup, that’s not good, is it? I could lie to you and tell you I’m planning on taking vacation this year but that would not be true. It’s a nice idea, mind you, but I’m not there yet where I can just pick up and go. I’d be so stressed out worrying about business that I wouldn’t enjoy myself very much.

I know I’m not the only entrepreneur having a hard time with vacations now that there’s no employer around to pay for them. I just searched online for the subject of entrepreneurs not taking vacations and a bunch of articles showed up in the results, including: ‘Entrepreneur rookies need time off for mental vacations,’ ’10 reasons entrepreneurs should take more vacations’ and ‘How to take a vacation you think you can’t afford.’ In the end, I’ll end up taking a vacation at some point. I won’t have a choice. A person can’t be ‘on’ all the time. Eventually, you run out of gas and you’re not good to anyone.

There’s an oceanfront out there ready to be stared at. I just know there is.

Social Media Matters: Tombstones go high-tech with Smart Memorials

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 20, 2012
Metro section

Tombstones go high-tech with Smart Memorials

A recent report on CBC Radio Manitoba’s Information Radio program focused on Eden Memorials (, a Winnipeg-based manufacturer and supplier of grave monuments and markers – or good old-fashioned tombstones as they were once known.

QR code on tombstone
Photo courtesy of Mashable

Eden Memorials is the first company in Canada to offer a service called Smart Memorials, which embeds a discreet porcelain tile on the marker containing a QR code that can be scanned into any smartphone. Once the code is scanned, it brings you to a memorial website that pays tribute to the deceased.

If you’re not sure what a QR (‘Quick Response’) code is, Wikipedia describes it ‘as the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes.

The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.’ So far, the Smart Memorials concept has not caught on like wildfire, but you can be sure that more and more monument companies will be offering this service in the coming years.

Memorial websites may contain photos, write-ups and videos of the deceased loved one.

One Israeli family has taken advantage of installing a QR code on a monument. The family of the late Judith Medan decided they wanted to remember her by adding a QR code to her grave monument in Israel. You can check out her memorial page here:

Elections NB website chock full of info

Elections NBMunicipal elections will be held in New Brunswick on Monday, May 14. Members of district education councils and regional health authorities will also be elected that day.

If you’re wondering which candidates are running in your area, be sure to visit the very informative Elections New Brunswick website. Especially useful is the list of candidates running throughout the province in all races. Click on the ‘List of candidates and plebiscite(s)‘ link in the right-hand corner after you’ve chosen your preferred language.

The site also provides voter information, including details on where to vote and the dates of advance polls, which are becoming more and more popular.

Consumers turn to social media for health advice

PWCAccording to an April 17 report by Lance Whitney published on, ‘a third of consumers polled by PricewaterhouseCoopers now use social-media services to find and share information about medical treatments, doctors and health plans.’ The February poll of 1,060 adults in the U.S. found that one-third of them seek medical information, research and share symptoms, including sharing opinions about a variety of issues, including drugs, health plans, treatments and doctors.

One word of caution, though. Always consult a medical profes­sional and avoid self-diagnosing. While researching medical symptoms and treatments online can be somewhat helpful, websites can usually cause unnecessary panic by discussing worst-case scenarios that are exceptions to the rule and that may cause unnecessary panic for some.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to April 17.

Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

Jian Ghomeshi[/caption]

1) Q with Jian Ghomeshi (36,793 subscribers) -If you were one of the hundreds of CBC Radio fans on hand to see Jian Ghomeshi host a live edition of Q on April 13 at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, you’ll most certainly enjoy this companion YouTube channel that hosts archived videos of many of the show’s interviews and musical performances. The channel is very active and is updated regularly. To date, it contains nearly 1,200 videos that have – so far – received more than 42 million views. (Most popular video: ‘Wavin’ Flag’ by K’naan (Official World Cup Theme Song) on QTV – 12,756,199 views.)

2) Bruce Springsteen (20,302 subscribers)- Speaking of Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc was a guest on the Moncton live show and announced – to the great pleasure of the hundreds of fans in the audience – that singing superstar Bruce Springsteen would be performing a concert at Magnetic Hill on Sunday, August 26. If you plan on attending the concert, check out Springsteen’s YouTube channel for all his music videos and clips from various concerts. The popular channel contains 61 videos with 76,038,066 views. (Most popular video: Bruce Springsteen – Streets Of Philadelphia – 13,470,232 views.)

3) James Van Praagh (1,158 subscribers) -If you’re a fan of psychics, the supernatural and new age phenomena, famed psychic James Van Praagh will keep you entertained and mesmerized by the many clips of interviews and readings found on his official channel. (Most popular video: James Van Praagh does audience readings from his ‘Beyond’ TV show – 23,971 views.)

Hump Day: Documentary provides new insights on the lives of nuns

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Now that I have a PVR at home – one of those fancy-shmancy doodads (sorry for the scientific terminology) that allows you to record television shows on a hard drive – I have a tendency to skip commercials.

Sometimes, though, I’m glad I catch one. Case in point, I was watching Radio-Canada Acadie’s newscast the other day when a promotional ad came on for a National Film Board documentary that would be aired. Entitled Pour la cause (For the Cause), the documentary looked at the history of the Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur religious order of nuns based on King Street in Moncton.

While the congregation’s main convent is on King Street, the sisters are spread throughout the Maritimes in a number of communities. And if you didn’t already know, the convent on King Street used to be The Moncton Hospital before the current facility on Mac-Beath Avenue opened.

My own interactions with nuns first came about in the 1970s as a student at École Aberdeen and École Vanier. They were all quite the characters. There was Soeur (Sister) Françoise Caissie at Aberdeen who I used to ask to tie the hood of my winter coat before I knew how. Later, she taught me English at Vanier and would often barge into our class to admonish students for chewing gum. ‘What is this? A chewing party?’ I always liked her. I even got her to write me a letter of recommendation when I applied to the University of King’s College School of Journalism in the early 1980s. She must have done a good job, because I got in. I remember picking up the letter at their now-demolished Lutz Street residence that used to be behind the cathedral.

There was Soeur Carmella Gosselin who taught me math in Grade 7. Another character! She was quite funny and had a way of teaching that seemed to stick. I can’t remember what she was trying to teach us, but I remember her telling us to leave a ‘driveway’ (she’d even say it in English) between some long-forgotten mathematical formulae to make them easier to calculate. I remember in Grade 1 asking a nun who taught Grade 2 at Aberdeen why she became a nun. As she spent time outside with us students during one recess, I asked her why she became a nun.

A heavy question from a six-year-old! I remember her answer, though. She told me that she loved Jesus and wanted to (for all intents and purposes) marry him. It was kind of like that. It seemed to satisfy my young curious mind.

My penchant for personal questions got me put in my place, though, when I asked my Grade 1 teacher how old she was. She told me it was rude to ask a woman her age . . . but told me she was 26, positively ancient from my perspective at the time. There’s stuff older than 26 in my fridge right now, I think.

And I’m only half kidding.

When I was young, I found out that I had a great aunt who was a nun – Soeur Marie Cormier. She was a sweet, tiny woman, who was always happy and in a good mood. She was my paternal grandfather’s sister – which I never really understood because grandfathers just didn’t have sisters, at least in my mind.

As the years went by and I grew into an adult, I reconnected with Soeur Marie through family events and started visiting her a few times per year with my cousins. She was such a lovely person. She died in 2008 at 97, so well cared for by the staff and other sisters that she sometimes wondered if Jesus had forgotten her. I’m sure he didn’t forget her. He just wanted to make sure we got to enjoy her company for as long as possible.

I always had a bit of a prejudiced view of nuns – of demure and quiet women who stood back and did what they were told by a mother superior or by priests. Soeur Caissie and Soeur Gosselin certainly weren’t the demure types, nor is Soeur Lorette Gallant, the former director of the Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie, the subject of another documentary I saw recently. I thought I’d seen everything until I saw Soeur Lorette cheering on the Moncton Wildcats from her seat in the Moncton Coliseum in the documentary. A nun who loves hockey.

Who knew?

The Pour la cause documentary was fascinating to watch. (You can watch it online through the National Film Board’s website. It’s in French only.) A number of nuns were interviewed and they were anything but demure, shy and quiet little wallflowers too afraid to speak their minds.

In fact, one sister was shown in archival video footage talking to Pope John Paul II at the cathedral during his visit to Moncton in 1984.

She was calling for an expanded role for women in the church, something that John Paul didn’t seem quite open to at the time – if ever. In the footage, he doesn’t act terribly interested in hearing much of what she has to say and seems to do everything but roll his eyes.

The documentary gave me a whole new view of who nuns are.

They are strong women. They’re dedicated, passionate, educated and determined. The ones I saw interviewed would love to see women take on an expanded role in the Roman Catholic Church, something with which I feel many churchgoers would agree. And, shockingly, they seemed much more liberal in their social views than I could have ever imagined, preferring to love rather that judge. How deeply refreshing!

Social Media Matters: Juice maker squeezed for corporate bullying

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 13, 2012
Metro section

Juice maker squeezed for corporate bullying

Lassonde Industries of Rougemont, Quebec, learned a tough lesson earlier this week when it was called out for apparent corporate bullying by none other than its own social media followers.

OasisAccording to a National Post report by Graeme Hamilton published on April 9, Lassonde had previously lost a trademark battle with a small soap manufacturer called Olivia’s Oasis. According to the news article, ‘Quebec Superior Court had found Lassonde’s trademark claim groundless in 2010 and ordered the company to pay Olivia’s Oasis founder Deborah Kudzman $100,000 to cover her legal costs and an additional $25,000 in punitive damages.’ Fine, but when Lassonde appealed and won, its customers turned on them big time on social media, accusing them of going over the top against a relatively small entrepreneur. Quebecers took to Facebook and Twitter in droves blasting the juice company for going after a small soap company for simply using the word ‘Oasis.’ Damage to the company’s reputation was swift and Lassonde officials backed off almost immediately.

Guy A. Lepage
Guy A. Lepage

Even popular Quebec TV host Guy A. Lepage (@guyalepage) of ‘Tout le monde en parle’ got in on the action and posted a message to his more than 105,000 Twitter followers that he would no longer be buying Oasis juices because of Lassonde’s treatment of Kudzman.

Lassonde’s move was even mocked by Radio-Canada’s satirical show ‘Et Dieu créa Laflaque.’ ‘The Oasis juice company just announced it’s suing the Sahara Desert for the abusive use of its name.’ (translation) Finally, Lassonde had enough on Easter Sunday and sent a senior executive to wave the white flag in person in front of Kudzman. ‘I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined the viral aspect of it,’ she was quoted as saying in the National Post article. ‘I think it’s almost unprecedented in Quebec. I spent seven years fighting this, and within basically 48 hours, because of the outpouring of support, it was resolved.’ To follow the posts about this issue on Twitter, search for ‘Lassonde.’

Wanted man goads police on Facebook

According to an April 10th QMI Agency news report, ‘Travis A. Nicolaysen, 26, of Port Angeles, Wash., is wanted by the state Department of Corrections after he failed to check in with his parole officer since January, reports the Peninsula Daily News. He is also accused of assaulting his girlfriend on March 28.’ After eluding police during two foot chases, Nicolaysen thanked a friend on Facebook for warning him that the police were looking for him. ‘Ya got away thanks bro.’ Soon after, he changed his relationship status to single. Apparently, the girlfriend he assaulted on March 28 wasn’t too keen on taking him back. Go figure. Some people can just be so unreasonable, eh? I wonder if he saw that coming?

While some are posting messa­ges of support, others are urging the man to turn himself in and do is time. According to the report, Nicolaysen has previously been convicted of burglary, domestic violence and firearm theft.

This week’s featured You-Tube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to April 10. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

One Direction
One Direction

1) One Direction VEVO’s Channel (667,176 subscribers): One Direction is the latest boy-band to burn up the song charts. They were formed in 2010 from five unsuccessful contestants from the U.K. version of The X Factor by none other than Simon Cowell, not one to waste his time on things that don’t work. Having an eye for talent, Simon saw something in the five young lads – Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, and boy, was he right! So far, they’ve topped the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. with their insanely catchy tunes and performed on Saturday Night Live. This channel features 34 videos, including official music videos and interviews. In all, the videos have about 225 million views. (Most popular video: ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ – 94,518,540 views.)

2) Before You Exit (55,176 subscribers): This up-and-coming boyband is made up of brothers Connor McDonough (vocals/guitar) and Riley McDonough (vocals/bass), as well as Thomas Silvers (drums/ backing vocals) and Braiden Wood (guitar/backing vocals). Based in Orlando, Florida, they’re releasing their first album this spring. I found them while doing a search for One Direction on YouTube – and ironically their cover of One Direction’s most popular song is also Before You Exit’s most popular video, too! (Most popular video: ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ – 2,593,282 views.)

3) Beatles Central (8,686 subscribers): If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for music videos by The Beatles, this is the channel for you! Here, you’ll find nearly 60 videos of the mother of all British boy-bands’ biggest hits, including animated cinematic versions of ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Run for Your Life’. (Most popular video: ‘The Beatles – Twist n Shout (Official Video’ – 6,401,186 views.)