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In Times of Emergency, Social Media Doesn’t Always Get it Right

Published June 5, 2014 - 3 Comments

RCMPI’m writing this as the manhunt in Moncton is still ongoing in the search for a man who opened fire yesterday on RCMP officers, killing 3 and wounding 2.  His name and face have been splashed across the world, but I won’t bother to repeat them here.  I don’t want to give this murderer any more attention than he’s already gotten.  Only to say that I hope this comes to a swift conclusion.

Instead I’m going to write about social media’s role in this story, and how even in a time of emergency, we don’t always get it right.

Last week we heard that a newborn in Trois-Rivières, Que who was snatched from the hospital nursery had been recovered after a harrowing 3 hour search, spurred in great part to a plea shared through Facebook.  Score one for social media!

But last night as I took to Twitter and watched the activity on #Moncton scroll by faster than I could comfortably read, I was alarmed at how social media was not helping, and even harming, the search for the shooter.  I found it incredible that police would even have to ask the public not to post the location of officers as they searched for the gunman.  Human nature makes us want to be part of the story, to be the first to say “Look what I saw!” but that’s not always for the best.  The sheer amount of misinformation being passed around as quasi-fact only leads to confusion or even panic.  Imagine reading that the shooter might have carjacked a vehicle on a road that is somehow relevant to you.  That sort of uncontrolled speculation doesn’t help anyone.  It only feeds the chaos.  And don’t get me started on the internet trolls who occasionally interrupted the continuous stream with their jabs about redneck Maritimers being somehow lesser Canadians than the rest of the country.  Go find another sandbox to play in.

The internet is an amazing tool.  Social Media networks like Facebook and Twitter allow us to converse in ways that we’d never even dreamed of years ago.  But for all the advances we’ve made, people are still people.  There will always be good and evil, leaders and followers, smart and stupid.  That’s never going to change.

My thoughts go out to the people of Moncton, and the families of those brave RCMP officers who died protecting them.

The Material Girl Fails to Materialize

Published November 8, 2011 - 0 Comments

Well I think it’s fair to say that we were all duped by the whole “Is Madonna Coming to Moncton?” fiasco… Oct 31 has come and gone without an announcement of any sort of tour… let alone one that brings her to our backyard.  So all those people who rented hotel rooms for July 20… I guess you can cancel those until the next big “non-announcement” doesn’t take place.

Sorry.  🙁

Madonna or No Madonna… That is the Question…

Published October 29, 2011 - 2 Comments

Last night ATV/CTV news reported that Madonna was not scheduled to perform in Moncton next summer!  Well that’s a bit of a bummer… if it’s real.  We’ll find out October 31, when the promoters make an official announcement regarding the tour.

Looking at the site logs today, and I see that someone came here searching for “Is Justin Bieber going to perform in Moncton next year?”…  I immediately felt that wonderful vomit feeling in the back of my throat.  If that little …    *blood pressure check*…  *breathe*  *breathe* …   Selena Gomez can have anyone in the world, and she chose THAT little …  *blood pressure check* ….

I guess that we’ll find out on Monday whether the Material Girl is going to bless us with her presence.

Would YOU Go See Madonna in Moncton?

Published October 16, 2011 - 8 Comments

Well, there’s a ton of buzz around the possibility of Madonna coming to Moncton’s Magnetic Hill next summer.  I guess we’ll find out for sure when the tour date announcement is made October 31, but I’d say that it’s probably a done deal at this point.

So the next big question is…  Would YOU go see Madonna in Moncton?

I’ve gone to see two large outdoor concerts in Moncton, with two very different outcomes.  The day that Bon Jovi played was perfect.  You couldn’t ask for any better weather.  It was a beautiful day, but it wasn’t hot.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but the sun wasn’t scorching.  When Bon Jovi came out, I loved every single song that they did.  It was a great show.  The crowds were quite tolerable.  All in all, I had a fantastic experience.

Things were a little different at U2.  The weather was horrible, but you can not control the weather.  Still, the fact that the grounds were a big mud pit seemed to set the stage for a less than ideal experience.  I would say that I was looking forward to seeing U2 much more than I was Bon Jovi, but when I think back to the different set lists… U2 played songs that I really wasn’t thrilled with.  Yes, they did play some of my all-time favs… but there were lulls where I began to wonder if they were going to play something that I liked.  I didn’t have that problem with Bon Jovi.  I loved everything.  And the crowds at U2…

I mention this because I’ve watched Madonna’s Confessions tour on DVD many times, and thought “WoW!  If she ever came back to Montreal, I’d love to go see her.”  Why Montreal?  Because it’s the closest venue that I could ever have imagined (until recently) that Madonna would ever have come to the Atlantic provinces.  MAYBE Halifax… but even that was pushing it.  But as many times as I have watched that Confessions tour DVD, I don’t think that I’ve ever watched it from start to finish.  It’s very much the same thing as the U2 concert was for me.  Madonna has a ton of material to choose from, and I found that what I recognized, I LOVED.  But what I didn’t recognize… it was so-so at best.  If her current tour was similar at all, it would mean a lot of standing there waiting for the next hit.  Don’t get me wrong… I have a huge collection of her songs, and I love many of them.  But I challenge anyone to watch that Confessions tour DVD and tell me that they even recognize 2/3 of those songs, let alone enjoy them enough to spend a fair chunk of change to listen to.

So that brings me back to my current conundrum (that’s a word that I have to remember for Hanging With Friends!) …  Given everything that I know about the location, the unpredictability of the weather, the insane crowds, and the unlikelihood that Madonna will approach me to pre-approve her setlist, is this a concert that I would want to go see?

How about you?  Would YOU go see Madonna in Moncton July 20, 2012?

[polldaddy poll=5589574]

The Material Girl Proves Popular on WaS

Published October 14, 2011 - 0 Comments

Last night I was sitting at work, and noticed that something interesting was happening on my blog.  I was getting traffic… a lot of traffic… well, not compared to established blogs, but certainly way more than my little blog had ever gotten!  I had a mini-viral monster on my hands!

OK, not viral in the sense of Rebecca Black’s Friday, or some guy getting kicked in the nuts… but for my little blog… a huge spike!

When I saw on Twitter that Madonna was rumoured to be coming to Moncton next summer, I decided to write a little post about it. It’s nothing overly profound. Just a quick note mentioning how I had seen a few concerts at Magnetic Hill, and how the venue has become a world class concert attraction. I questioned whether Madonna was enough to get me to go back there again… I still don’t know. Yes, I do enjoy her music… I’m just not 100% sure that I would go back to Magnetic Hill after what happened at U2.

Anyway… I wrote the post.. put a picture and a link to a Madonna insider blog that broke the story, and clicked publish.

Wow…

That was at 8:30 PM…

I noticed that people started coming to the blog almost immediately, even though I did not mention it on Twitter or anywhere else. Google had picked it up instantly and put it on the first page for the keywords “Madonna Moncton”… As I refreshed my stats page more and more people were hitting the post. Most of them were from Google, but then I noticed some were being referred from Facebook, so somehow it got posted there too!

Then I started seeing referral links from Google, Ask, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and eventually Twitter…

The previous traffic high was 188 hits back in August of last year… in 3 hours I was at 239 views… By the time midnight came I had almost 250, and then the reporting software reset at the start of the new day.  At that point, if you did a search for “Madonna Moncton” I was listed in second position, below the Madonna insider blog!  The only mainstream news site to write about it was Global New Atlantic, and I was ahead of them!

I knew that it couldn’t last forever though. As of today, I have been pushed down several positions, as the main news sites published their material, and bumped me down.  My little blog doesn’t have the clout to fend off those large sites, but I am still on Google’s first page, and still the highest ranking amateur blog there!  The traffic has slowed down, but I still finished the day with 453 visitors!  That’s pretty impressive!

I completely realize that this is an anomaly, and a matter of luck on my part that I was basically the first person to write a blog post about Madonna coming to Moncton… these numbers will die off over the next couple of days, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to replicate them on this blog.  But it’s been an interesting exercise to watch, and I think I’ve learned a couple of lessons from this that I hope to implement in the coming days.  And who knows?  Maybe I’ll gain a couple of new readers in the process!  🙂

Here is a screenshot of what I see when I look at my blog stats.

Click to enlarge

Madonna Coming to Moncton Next Summer?

Published October 12, 2011 - 2 Comments

After seeing U2 in Moncton this summer, I figured that my major concert days were over.  I’ve seen Phil Collin, Genesis, and U2… those were the three biggies that I needed to see before I died.  Throw in Bon Jovi in Moncton back in 2009, which actually turned out to be more enjoyable than some of the “must see” ones… and well… I think that I’ve seen my fair share.  It would take something special to get me to go back there with all those people.

And then I saw this… Notice July 20, 2012…

Madonna Tour Schedule?

It’s totally unconfirmed at this point, but the website DrownedMadonna.com seems to have an inside track on these things, so it’s not just random speculation.

So is the Material Girl enough to send me back into that mudfest called Magnetic Hill?  I don’t know for sure… but it’s certainly intriguing…  I’ll be curious to see what kind of announcement is made October 31.

One thing is for certain… Moncton’s Magnetic Hill has definitely established itself as a premiere concert venue!

U2 360 Tour in Moncton, NB

Published July 31, 2011 - 13 Comments

Bono

Last night a dream many years in the making was finally realized. My mind is still so scatter-brained right now that I can’t even find the words to fully describe the experience.  Moncton’s Magnetic Hill concert venue packed with 80,000 (I’ll be curious to know what the real number finally is) people was just insane.  Add to that the fact that it had been raining through much of the day, and people were slogging through a giant mud pit…  I’m not sure that wearing sandals was the best choice, but hey… I lived.

The 360 Tour stage was amazing.  The sound and light show were amazing.  The 2 CF-18s that buzzed the crowd were amazing.  (See a theme here?)  And the music… ahhh… the music…  wow…  I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with a few of the songs, but that didn’t matter.  They were still awesome.  And when I did hear one of the ones that was on “my list” …  Beautiful DayWhere The Streets Have No NameOne… and finally… With or Without You…    I can now die a happy man.

The entire experience was surreal.  I know that this post doesn’t even come close to doing it justice… but it’s just so hard to put into words.

Amazing.

There was a minor snafu of passing out cold in the mud and being taken to the medical tent, but all in all the night was absolutely amazing.  And no… it was not substance-related.

This is one of many sets of pictures that someone has posted from last night.  I don’t know who this particular person is, but he has some great pics!

 

I’m hoping to be able to link to other posts and pictures that some of the readers and tweeps have as well… so if anyone has anything, feel free to throw it in the comments, and I will add it here!

Interesting Blog Searches in 2010

Published January 18, 2011 - 0 Comments

I’ve poured through hundreds of search terms from Google Analytics, and narrowed the list down to my favourite 20 or so.  I have to laugh when I look at the things that people are searching for in Google and get pointed to my blog.  People have A LOT of spare time on their hands!

There were the usual searches for the Yahoo Airmiles toolbar being broken, the PC Children’s Charity Cameron Bear, and the Unfriendly Giant… But I was looking for some truly unique searches, and this is what I found.  In no particular order, these are some of the exact search terms, spelling mistakes included:

  • i hit a crow windshield omen  What?  OK, sure, I blogged about hitting the stupidest crow ever with my car, and mentioned that there’s probably a curse on me now… but hard to believe that someone actually went searching for that particular term… I really wish that they had left a comment on the blog!
  • donair dreams  I love my donairs.  I do.  But do I dream about them?  Umm… no…   Apparently someone does though!
  • plenty of fish sucks  This really isn’t all that unique, but I wanted to illustrate that I am not alone in my thinking that the “World’s Largest Free Online Dating Site” has some work to do.
  • quarter-pounder guy  I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime… come to think of it, quarter-pounder guy may have even been one of them!  I hope that whoever was searching for this term found something of use on my blog!
  • all i want for christmas is my bp check  This one is a little weird… I know that I was writing a series before Christmas called “All I Want For Christmas Is…”  I guess someone really wants some money from BP.  I can only assume that they’re affected by the tiny oil glitch in the Gulf.  I hope that Santa didn’t disappoint!
  • blog titles for bad vacations  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a bad vacation last year.  I guess someone must have, though!
  • can i see a cystoscopy being performed on a man  Umm….  ewwwwwww…
  • corrythegreat  No idea who Corry is, or why they’re great.  I can see StephentheGreat being a search term, but this one baffles me a little…
  • cystoscopy man video  OK, what is the fascination with shoving a camera up a man’s penis to explore whatever is hidden up there?
  • luxury living  Yeah, I’m guessing whoever was searching for this didn’t stay on the blog very long.  There ain’t no such thing as luxury living here!
  • making cystoscopy tolerable  At least this one makes sense.  My suggestion.  Rum.  Lots of rum.  And a couple of cute nurses.
  • modesty in childbirth  Haha… Good luck with that!
  • moncton tire being slash  Wasn’t me!  I didn’t do it!  Great grammar, btw…
  • my dynes tv is making a funny smell is that bad  First of all, it’s a Dynex tv.  Helps to get the brand name correct.  Second, yeah… a funny smell is probably not a good thing.  Did you really have to go to Google to find out?  Maybe you shouldn’t have a tv.  Open a book instead.  Something with pictures.
  • no modesty during cystoscopy  Ain’t that the truth!
  • smurfs characters  Ah, here we go!  Did I mention that Katy Perry is doing the voice of Smurfette in the new 3D movie coming out?   🙂
  • sobey’s chickpeas  I can only assume that there is a girl somewhere nearby flooding Google with crazy chickpea searches.  Just a girl…
  • sytycd bum dance  I remember this one!  Nice bum!  🙂
  • what is it like to live in saint john Let me sum it up in one word… COLD!
  • when can you eat lady ashburn pickles  Any time you feel like it!  As long as there is another jar on the shelf, and you’re not just eating them with cheese.  Please… show some respect for Lady A.
  • where did the saying squab, squab, squab  Despite the poorly worded search term, I actually understand what they were searching for!  Remember the Two and a Half Men episode about Squab?  I do!
  • why is jessica lee singing “good to you” and not kate voegele?  That is an excellent question!  Do let me know if you ever figure out the answer to that one.  While you’re at it, why not ask the boys at Marianas Trench why they chose to make such a horrible video for a beautiful song.  I’m sticking with the Kate version.  It’s amazing.

Well there you have it, folks.  Those are just a few of the weird and wonderful search terms put into Google that were directed to my blog!

Curious to see what next year brings.

Relish Coming to Saint John?

Published July 6, 2010 - 12 Comments

Scanning through my Twitter feed yesterday, and I noticed something interesting.

Big day for Relish. Just sold the franchise rights for Saint John and Moncton. First location in SJ at old Reggies on Germain St

I have to admit, I’d never heard of Relish until somewhat recently.  The topic came up in May, while chatting with someone from Fredericton.  Had I ever eaten there?  No… I’d never even heard of it before.  Gourmet burgers?  Go on, I’m listening…

I have it on good authority that this is a place that I need to check out.  Sooner, rather than later.  I probably would have taken a drive to Fredericton by now, but things just didn’t work out that way.  Still, I hadn’t forgotten the recommendation, and when I noticed the above-mentioned tweet, I smiled.  The old Reggies location is directly across the street from work, so finding time to stop by shouldn’t be a problem.

Looking at the menu, it’s obvious that this is no ordinary burger chain.  I wish that they had prices for the burgers listed, but I’m guessing that I’m going to need more than my standard $6 or $7 for a burger, fries and pop.  But that’s OK, because I’m looking for something a little better than my usual quarter-pounder combo.

Now if only they’re open at 3am when I’m working night shift!

Butterfly World…

Published July 4, 2010 - 3 Comments

Well, after the Canada Day mishap, I decided to take the kids for a drive the next day.  I wanted to find somewhere that they hadn’t been to already.  Their mother seems to have just about covered the entire province, which is understandable, as she has her summers off too… as she put it: she needs to keep finding stuff for them to do so they don’t get bored!  Tell me about it.

I’d heard about a place in Moncton called Butterfly World.  I knew this would be a hit with my daughter, but I wasn’t sure about my little guy.  Still, I figured that we would make a day trip out of it.  Go up, see some butterflies.. swing by a friend’s house for a visit that I started calling Rottweiler World in recognition of the ferocious beast known at Hennesey.

Thankfully Butterfly World is sort of combined with an amusement area that includes other things like go-karts, mini-golf, and paddle boats.  Those things all cost money, but there is a small playground area that is free to use.  Once the kids discovered the jumping cage with all the foam balls, they were all set.

Eventually we made our way into Butterfly World.  I think that world might be a little too generous a word.  Perhaps Butterfly Room might be more accurate, but certainly not as attractive in the marketing world.  For $22, I was expecting something a little more involved than a muggy gazebo with a bunch of butterflies in it.  But… I wasn’t really there for me.  And the kids (even my son) thought that it was really neat.  They had large orange slices that attracted the butterflies.  My only real problem was the lack of seating.  There are 2 double benches for the adults who will quickly get tired of walking around, but that wasn’t enough.  They could easily double that number.

As a bonus, they also have a bouncy castle that is free with paid admission to see the butterflies, so that made the cost slightly more tolerable… Although I think I should have been able to bounce too.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad trip.  As expected, my daughter did not want to leave.  I’m pretty sure that I could have just left her there, and the butterflies could have adopted her.  I don’t think that she would have had a problem with that at all.