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  • Twitter brings ‘Local Trends’ to South Africa

    In January of 2010, Twitter launched “Local Trends,” an application of their algorithm for “Trending Topic” which figures out what topics tweeters are discussing the most in particular locales, or as Twitter put it at the time, “(allowing) you to learn more about the nuances in our world and discover even more relevant topics that might matter to you.” Yesterday, Twitter brought local trends to another 70 locations including South Africa. Just as Twitter’s Trending Topics allows users to quickly view what is most popular the world over, with Local Trends, you get to see what is most immediately popular,...

  • New legal drama for Facebook and Zuckerberg

    Social networking giant, Facebook, faces new lawsuit from a man claiming to funded to the site in its early days. The man used old emails and a powerful law firm to press his claim to half the online social networking firm. A legal claim filed last year by Paul Ceglia and deemed dubious by many was being re-evaluated after lawyers at DLA Piper amended the complaint to include emails that appear to back the New York State man’s position. Ceglia contended that he hired then Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 to do software coding for a StreetFax website and...

  • Huffington Post sued by journalist

    American news website and content aggregating blog, The Huffington Post, was sued by a freelance journalist claiming unpaid bloggers should be compensated for the value they created for the website. The site which AOL bought for US$315-million has 60 employees and more than 3 000 bloggers contributing to the site. Jonathan Tasini, the lead plaintiff in the suit filed with a US District Court in New York, is demanding at least US$105 million in damages for The Huffington Post’s uncompensated writers and other content providers. Tasini is seeking to have the suit accepted as a class action representing more than 9...

  • Is the internet making us more peaceful?

    The modern, real-time web allows us to get instant notification of news and events around the world. More often than not, the stories that are newsworthy enough to spread quickly through the social web are ones of dramatic turmoil, and disaster. Even in the past two months we have seen the important role that social media has played in spreading information about the unrest in the Middle East, and the Tsunami in Japan. Despite what we see every day, we humans are actually living in the most peaceful time of our history. Is it possible that the modern, social...

  • Has Facebook signed an agreement with Baidu for Chinese social network?

    A few months after Mark Zuckerberg paid a visit to China, news has emerged that Facebook has signed an agreement with Chinese search engine giant Baidu to set up a new social networking site in China, according to reports from a leading web portal on Monday. The new website will not be linked to Facebook’s global service, which is currently blocked in China, the report on Sohu.com said, citing unnamed Baidu employees. The agreement follows several meetings between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Baidu’s chief executive Robin Li, it added, and comes amid reports the US social networking giant is eyeing...

  • Opera 11.10 launches with Afrikaans language support

    Codenamed “Barracuda”, Opera 11.10 is the newest update to the popular desktop browser and it includes support for over 50 languages including Afrikaans, Azerbaijani, Montenegrin, Malay, Tagalog, Thai and Uzbeck. The latest update also includes improvements to two of Opera’s most used features: Speed Dial and Opera Turbo. Opera seems to be following the trend of customising browsers for added language support. Last month, Mozilla’s successful integrated the Zulu language into its Firefox browser. The Opera Turbo feature in the 11.10 update reduces the size of webpages based on internet connection speeds, claiming that it can help boost browsing speeds by up to four...

  • YouTube premieres First Orbit, the story of man’s first journey into space

    To coincide with the 50th anniversary of man’s first journey into space, the film “First Orbit“, a feature length film event that weaves historic audio recordings of the first Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, with new footage of his orbital route, will premiere globally for free on YouTube at sunrise on 12 April and will be accessible from anywhere in the world. In collaboration with the European Space Agency and the astronauts onboard the International Space Station, filmmaker Chris Riley has captured the magnificence of Gagarin’s original orbit. Filmed by astronaut Paolo Nespoli, “First Orbit” delivers breath-taking digital, full high-definition views of...

  • Prince William and Kate’s wedding — The social media drive

    The Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, or Catherine Middleton as she is now referred to, suggests all things traditional. However, showing its internet-savvy, from the tweet which officially announced the engagement, the Royal Wedding has fully embraced the fact that it is the first of the digital age. The British Monarchy has taken to the digital and social media realm with much enthusiasm and with a popular Flickr account, over 300 000 “likes” on Facebook (41 000 on it’s first day), over 100 000 followers on the Twitter account @bristishmonarchy and near on 37 000 subscribers to...

  • Sony makes deal to end litigation against PlayStation hacker

    Following an attack by hacktivist group Anonymous, and worldwide bad press, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has agreed to cut a deal and drop the lawsuit with a US hacker who in turn agreed to stop breaking into PlayStation 3 (PS3) videogame consoles. “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier,” hacker George Hotz said in a joint statement released by Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). “I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.” Sony went to court early this year to stop hackers who figured out how to “jailbreak” PS3 consoles to operate...

  • Social media: What you really need is a strategy

    There’s a saying that goes like this… “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Amen when applied to social media. An analogy came to me one day that I use when explaining social media in context to clients and at learnshops that I run, and it goes something like this… Imagine that your blog or your website is where you have your party. Social media are simply the channels you use to invite people to your party and to share news about your party. So if you spend all of your time on...

  • What digital tribes can learn from Native Americans

    For all our ability to change the world around us with new technology, humans have never been very good at naming our new inventions. Usually we resort to old words, old concepts to explain the very new. And so the word “tribe” has been adopted to describe groups of people, scattered around the globe, connected only by the internet and their passion for a particular topic. So what can these new digital tribes learn from one of the world’s oldest surviving tribal societies, the Native Americans? Speaking at last month’s South By Southwest Interactive festival, tribal members discussed this idea’s...

  • Group-buying craze: Bidorbuy snaps up UbuntuDeal

    Group-buying has really taken hold of the South African consumer market in the last year with the number of Groupon-clones growing every day as companies hasten to get a foothold into this rapidly growing sphere. bidorbuy.co.za, an online auction based in South Africa, has acquired the Cape Town-based group-buying site UbuntuDeal.co.za, highlighting the group-buying craze in the e-commerce sector, worldwide. The acquisition follows hot-on-the-heels of the undisputed king of group buying, Groupon, acquiring local startup Twangoo at the beginning of 2011. Just last month media group, Avusa, announced Zappon. Bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker, explains how the UbuntuDeal complements bidorbuy’s existing site: “While...

  • Social distribution of mass media

    I recently pointed out how “social media” has changed from its original promise of challenging the established order of mass media. Where are the brigades of citizen journalists? What’s become of the hope of the grass roots revolt against the gate keepers in our national and local media? When I left the Financial Times in mid-2004 to become the first journalist to leave a major newspaper and become an independent “journalist-blogger” there was a lot of hope in the air. I felt I was joining a small but very spirited band of media pioneers, a nascent “Homebrew Club” of sorts, which...

  • New celebrity spotting app launches on Android Market

    Startup Scoopler, a real-time search engine, was inviting owners of Android-powered smartphones to install an application that promises to alert them every time a celebrity is sighted nearby. The free JustSpotted software was available online at the Android Market. “There is no other application that gives you real-time alerts like this with thousands of spottings on our website every day,” said Scoopler co-founder AJ Asver. “If you are in a metropolitan area, you are going to be pleasantly surprised by how close you are to the celebrity world.” JustSpotted.com launched in October with an online map that pinpoints celebrity whereabouts in real time...

  • Will your digital footprint leave behind a legacy?

    I remember riding my bicycle to my friend’s house. In the summer after school, we’d jump off his house’s roof into the pool. The sky was as blue as sapphire. For better or worse, with nary an LCD in sight, this moment began and ended with us. Mix-tapes. I miss mix-tapes. I miss making them, sharing them, and listening to them from start to finish. I bet that if I were to find a box of them them today, they’d convey a lot about what who I was at the time. I remember that love letters used to smell like...