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At the annual blog awards ceremony in the prestigious One & Only Hotel in Cape Town, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille spoke about how “bloggers are the new voice of society” and how blogs “link the local with the big picture”.
The premier, no slouch herself on the social media scene with around 115 000 Facebook friends and one of country’s first verified Twitter accounts, said that digital communications were a “force for entrenching democracy”.
“Everything breaks immediately and is commented on and analysed before it hits the press… it’s a problem for newspapers and I wouldn’t want to be a newspaper editor in this day. It’s made it more difficult to control what information is transmitted.”
Zille made reference to the mooted media tribunal and various proposed laws that could curb press freedom, saying that they were “just hastening the communication revolution”.
The Premier spoke about how the use of digital communication technologies “can transform people’s lives”.
“We’ve just scratched the surface. And we can use technology to solve some of the big problems of our society. For example, people receiving Tweets or SMSes about when they need to attend clinics, so they don’t have to wait all day.”
Blog awards CEO JP Naude noted that the print industry had been around for 100 years, but blogs haven’t been around that long in comparison: “We are still trying to understand the phenomenon. Some blog for revenue others do it purely for passion.”
“We are happy to see that blogging is slowly spreading across more languages and cultures in South Africa,” he added.
The revamped 2010 Blog Awards was a step up from previous incarnations, featuring a provincial premier, local celebrities and a luxurious venue.
The evening was not without controversy with Cape Town humour blog and perennial winner 2OceansVibe announcing via a representative it that would be the site’s “last blog awards”, implying it no longer wanted to be regarded as a blog, but a traditional publishing outfit.
There was also some confusion over the “Best New Blog” category when a blank card with no apparent winner was drawn, sending the organisers into a brief panic.
2010 Blog award winners