Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facebook Saves the Lives of a Woman and Her Son

Facebook is a great place to learn about what is going on in the lives of your friends and families. It’s always been thought of as a great way to keep updated, but this was taken to a whole new level this weekend. A Facebook status was able to save the lives of a woman and her 17-month-old, disabled son who were being held hostage by her boyfriend in their home in Utah for five days.

According to the Associated Press, the woman told the Salt Lake City Police that she and her son were forcibly detained in their home by her boyfriend, 33-year-old Troy Critchfield, for nearly a week. She said that he choked her, repeatedly hit her and sexually abused her. While holding them in the house, Critchfield took the woman’s cell phone and would not allow her to feed her dog. He was arrested and detained by the Salt Lake City Police on Saturday, December 24 while they looked into the various charges which the AP said included aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and animal cruelty, among other things.

Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Jon Arnold told the AP that the woman was able to hide in a closet with her laptop and submit a Facebook status that stated that both she and her son would be “dead by morning” if they did not receive any help.

The post that she wrote caught the attention of one of her friends who called the police. The police were then dispatched to the captive woman’s home to see if she was alright.

"Facebook was her only outlet that she had at the home," Arnold said. "It just happened that she was able to use it."

According to the Salt Lake County Jail records, when the police first arrived, Critchfield would not let them into the house. Once he let the police inside, the AP reported that the police asked the woman if she was okay. She indicated that she was not by shaking her head “no.”

The police then separated Crichfield and the woman, and she revealed the details of the past five days. She also told them that Critchfield had grabbed her son’s arm, hit him on the head and treated him roughly.

According to the AP, the woman refused to go to the hospital to be treated; however, it was noted that she did have "bruises and other physical injuries consistent with [the] allegations."

"She claims that any time she went to go to a door, he physically assaulted her," Arnold said.

As of right now, Critchfield is still being held in jail. It is unclear as to whether or not he has a lawyer yet.

According to Utah State Court records, Critchfield was involved in a domestic violence incident in December 2010 and plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced by a judge to five years in prison; however, the punishment was reduced to 120 days in jail and three years of probation.

Sources: The Associated Press - Police: Utah mom, son rescued after Facebook post, The Washington Post - Man charged in Utah hostage case that ended with Facebook post was convicted for similar crime and PCMag - Facebook Status Saves Woman From Hostage Situation

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Ruin Your Business in a Day with Twitter

angry typerThere are quite a few stories out there about businesses responding poorly to negative feedback they have found on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. These social media tools are supposed to make communication on a personal level with customers easier, but instead, some business owners often use them as a way to "vent" about negative things said about their businesses and in not so polite ways.

Take this following Twitter conversation between a restaurant owner and a potential customer that I found on Social Media Today. Let me set the scene: A social media strategist and a friend stopped by a new local restaurant to grab some dinner only to disappointingly find the place closed. The following is the result.

Customer: We were going to go to @restaurant but they closed at 10. Kelley was going to eat her 1st burger in 3 years. #sadsies

Owner: @customer we will be here tomorrow, open bright and early at sure yall will need a hangover cure

However, this is where things take a turn for the worse. The customer's friend apparently posted on the restaurant's Yelp page "we're so bummed!", causing the following verbal attack from the restaurant owner.

Owner: @customer really u have ur friend post a yelp review because yall couldnt tell time and accept the fact that we were closed? #badmove

Owner: @customer to go after someones business because you couldnt get u want is pathetic and spoiled.

Customer: @restaurant I don't know why you are angry at me?

Owner: @customer even tweeting about it is lame...its whiny. get over it.

Customer: I stated that we wanted to go there & were sad. It's the same as someone saying they wanted to go on Tues & you're closed.

Owner: @customer yea i know its amazing, restaurants close sometimes #knowthehours

Customer: @restaurant Dude, you need to relax. I don't feel like I said anything negative. I am sorry if I have upset you.

Owner: u need to tell ur friend to take that s*** off of yelp

Oh yeah, the owner cursed at potential customers, and on Twitter, where every single one of the restaurant's followers can see it. Smart. The conversation didn't stop there and even other Twitter followers added their 140 characters of complete shock at the conversation. The restaurant owner did issue massive apologies the next day but the damage had been done. Customers, social media professionals and even other local restaurants were firebombing Twitter with the conversation.

If you want a perfect example of how NOT to use Twitter, this is it. Be honest, would you have responded like that if it were your restaurant? I know I wouldn't have. I mean the feedback wasn't even negative. It was like saying "We wanted to go to the movies but misread the times, we we're so bummed because Kelley was going to eat popcorn for the first time in 3 years."

Business owners take note. If you want to completely ruin your business in a single day, please, by all means, verbally attack your customers on Twitter. They'll love it, restaurant reviewers will love it, even your mother will love it, and you will love it all the way to bankruptcy.

Source: Social Media Today - How NOT to Tweet With Your Customers

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facebook Users in Britain Drunk in 76% of Pics

Drunk British PeopleSocial media users love to drink. Whether it be coffee or beer, social media users just have to satiate their thirst at all times, even in the pictures they post to these sites. And nowhere is this more prevalent than Great Britain where a recent study found that the average British person is under the influence of alcohol in three-fourths of his or her tagged Facebook pictures.

Researchers surveyed British people to reveal exactly how many Facebook pictures they have that show them consuming alcohol or were taken after they consumed alcohol. The study estimates that a total of 76% of the people's photographs surveyed had some connection with alcohol. According to Rebecca Huggler, Co-Founder of MyMemory, the conductors of the survey, "We're guilty of going out and having a good time, but nowadays the photos inevitably catch up with us online, so we wanted to look at how much these photos dominate our presence on social media sites."

In addition to that, researchers looked at their privacy settings and found that only 12% of the 1,781 Facebook users that were surveyed have their profiles set to "Private" with 58% allowing only their friends to see their pictures and an astonishing 26% of users allowing anyone and everyone to see their pictures whenever they want.

Over half of the people surveyed (56%) admitted that they had "drunk photos" that they would not want coworkers to see with 8% saying their photos may cause some "serious trouble at work". But it doesn't stop there as an additional 93% stated that they had tagged pics that were deemed "too embarrassing." Huggler also noted that many of the pictures with alcohol were taken during special occasions or get-togethers with friends or family. Huggler also predicts the holiday season will fuel more photo activity involving alcohol.

Source: Mashable - British Facebook Users Are Intoxicated in 76% of Their Photos [STUDY]

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Need to Vent? You Can Now Use More Than 60,000 Characters on Facebook

Facebook just announced that users now have the opportunity to share more than 60,000 characters as their status update if they choose.

"In September we increased the character limit on status updates to 5,000 characters," Vadim Lavrusik, journalist program manager at Facebook, wrote on the site. "Today we're announcing that you can now write posts with more than 60,000 characters."

The actual status update character limit is 63,206. Bob Baldwin, the software engineer that made the change for Facebook, said, “I set the exact limit to something nerdy.”

"Facebook ... Face Boo K ... hex(FACE) - K ... 64206 - 1000 = 63206 :-)," he wrote.

An image that was posted on Facebook about the new amount of character space for statuses brought up the point that “a novel has roughly 500,000 characters. This could be shared in nine posts.”

The image also takes a trip back in time to Facebook’s earliest days. Originally, Facebook was very Twitter-like. It limited users to 160 characters. In March 2009 Facebook expanded that to 420 characters. In July 2011 the character limit was boosted to 500 characters, and then two months later it made the leap to 5,000 characters. Now, users have 63,206 characters to vent with; however, I know that if my friends start writing status updates with over 60,000 characters, they will find themselves blocked. Who on earth needs that many characters? I think that it is slightly over the top.

Although I think that Facebook is now giving users way too many characters, maybe some users will enjoy this new freedom. I just hope that this new freedom doesn’t become ridiculous.

Source: PCMag - Facebook Boosts Character Limit to Over 60,000