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  • Social media campaigns need a new measure of success

    Times have changed. Getting yourself out there is no longer about shouting as long and as hard as you can until you are blue in the face, trying to get people to listen to you. So why are we still measuring it by the same metrics? Depeche Mode sang about it in the early 80s (wow that gives away my age) but their hit “Get The Balance Right” was not referring to marketing metrics; let alone digital marketing metrics for measuring return on social media campaigns. As a viable marketing channel, social media is in danger; maybe a danger more grave...

  • What does ‘The Spear’ have in common with Barbara Streisand?

    You know your country’s digital landscape is maturing when locally brewed memes make international news. Brett Murray’s controversial The Spear caused an inadvertent ruckus in the South African media, and web-going South Africans were on the forefront of spreading the word, sharing news content and creating their own graphics lampooning the situation. Thousands of news stories, images and Facebook shares later, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone around the office water cooler or in the grocery store queue who isn’t familiar with the painting. But this raises the question of whether any of this debate would have happened -- in...

  • Space X Dragon to return to earth today

    Attention, earthlings: the Space X Dragon capsule is on its way home. Well, if by 'way' you mean hurtling through the atmosphere and 'home' you mean a splash-landing in the Pacific Ocean. The first privately funded and built space craft to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) left earth just over a week ago and was captured by the ISS on 25 May. After spending five days attached to the station while its crew unloaded supplies and picked up some new cargo, it was released this morning to start its journey back to earth. It is scheduled to land...

  • People now watch more online video on iPads — and on Saturday nights [Study]

    Do you spend your Saturday nights curled up with your new iPad, watching the latest episode of your favourite TV series or flitting through YouTube like the power user you are? No? Well, you’re in the minority, according to the latest global online video statistics from Ooyala. The recent study of over 200 million users worldwide showed that people aren’t just watching three minute videos of cats -- they’re watching more long form video, more often, on a variety of platforms. Half of the time users spend watching video online is spent watching videos longer than 10 minutes. It varies depending...

  • Baidu set to launch Android ROM

    Baidu is taking its smartphone push into full gear with the release of a ROM that takes Google's full suite of Android services and replaces them with its own. The Chinese internet giant has a lot to gain if people decide they like the new product. According to The Next Web, just under 70% of new phones in China ship with Android. Baidu claims that the ROM, which comes standard with services including the Google-Drive like Wangpan, music, maps, apps and new photo album site Baidu Xiangce will give users a “richer, more social, more personalised experience”. Back in February...

  • Google SA to launch online child safety initiative

    Google South Africa will announce on Friday the launch of a local child safety initiative. The search giant says that it and its partners will create a safe cyberspace for children to engage with technology as well as empower parents and guardians with tools to help them choose what content their children see online. Partners include the South African Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), the Department of Communications, the Film and Publications Board (FPB), youth-based social network Mxit, Childline South Africa and UNICEF. Google says that Friday's launch is the first step in an ongoing online child...

  • Facebook opens office dedicated to Middle East, North Africa

    Facebook has opened up operations at its new Dubai offices, aimed specifically at expanding its operations in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). In a statement made at a press conference in the Gulf emirate, the social network said that its Mena team "will work with brands across the region to help them harness the power of the world's largest social network". Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the network has some "45 million users" in the region, adding that the main thrust of the regional office was to "share our...

  • Google Places is dead, long live Google+ Local

    We called it. After Google bought out restaurant review site Zagat in 2011, we said that it signalled the company had "good taste" and that Google+ would become "a repository for your Google user data". The company's announcement that it would be scuppering Google Places and replacing it with Google+ local, which it calls "a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+", shows just how far we've come along that road. Back in January we said: If you allow it to, Google is going to use that data...

  • One quarter of mobile users will pay with NFC by 2017

    As a technology Near Field Communication (NFC) has been kicking around for a while now -- Nokia's 6131 was the first NFC-enabled phone and launched all the way back in 2006 -- but mass adoption has been slow. All that's about to change. According to a new report from tech analysis company Juniper Research, more than one in four mobile users in Western Europe and the US will make in-store payments using NFC by 2017. That's massive growth, considering that only two percent will do so this year. The company reckons that this is largely down to an increasing...

  • Orkut to be linked with Google+

    It was inevitable. Google is now letting Orkut users link to their Google+ profiles. This effectively means that people will be sharing their posts on both social networks. Except, the integration goes a little deeper than that. In an official blog post, the internet giant says: After you link your profiles, your Orkut profile photo and name will be the same as your Google+ photo and name. In addition, you will be able to share all your public Google+ posts with your Orkut friends. Your Google+ posts to limited audience or specific circles will remain on Google+ only...

  • Bit.ly redesign: now with added annoying bookmarking feature

    You may have heard that popular link-shortening service Bit.ly has had a bit of a redesign. Or maybe you were just made aware of that fact when you logged in to your account and everything was all over the place. Ok, so the old Bit.ly wasn't on my list of the top 10 most beautifully designed sites on the web, but it was functional. There was a nice big bar at the top where you pasted your link, it shrunk before your very eyes, you copied it to your clipboard and moved on with your life. When you got distracted...

  • Facebook IPO drama: conspiracy or mispricing?

    Everyone is suing everyone. Everyone is upset with everyone. Everyone is blaming everyone. Get over it. It’s history. The biggest IPO since Google has happened. Some made millions. Others lost even more. Someone got it wrong, and they’re to blame, right? It’s doubtful that this was some deep-rooted, intricate, secret conspiracy by investment banks to overprice Facebook stock. But the mispricing cost it. Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters (and the others) spent billions propping up the stock price to ensure that it closed above the IPO price of $38 on day one. That’s a simple cost to figure out. Beyond...

  • Trust and the web: A sociologist’s guide

    Trust. The word gets bandied about a lot when talking about the web today. We want people to trust our systems. Companies are supposedly building “trusted computing” and “designing for trust”. But, as sociologist Coye Cheshire, Professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley will tell you, trust is a thing that happens between people not things. When we talk about trust in systems, we’re actually often talking about the related concepts of reliability or credibility. Designing for trustworthiness Take trustworthiness, for example. Trustworthiness is a characteristic that we infer based on other characteristics. It’s an assessment of a person’s future...

  • Bring your own device: Welcome to our sci-fi future

    For decades, the realm of science fiction has portrayed inconceivable concepts and technologies as innovations just within our grasp. From Jules Verne’s musings on lunar travel, a century prior to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, to Arthur C. Clarke’s orbital satellites in 1945; fanciful and fantastic literature has helped to prepare us for the technological revolutions we are currently experiencing. Today, this notion has particular relevance to the consumerisation of technology. For years, we imagined a world in which we could communicate with friends and family by video, access information wirelessly or instantly connect with thousands of...

  • How does shopper psychology apply to social commerce? [Infographic]

    No purchase decision happens by chance. Every thought leading up to why you need the product -- from the rational versus emotional arguments about what the product will offer to the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits -- are all weighed up and part of a very complicated decision-making process. It's all about questions Things like: "Do I need it? Why do I need it? Can I afford it? Can I get it cheaper? What will my friends think? What will my mom think? What will the bank think? How do I use it? When will I use it? Will I use it?"...