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All posts by Anna Malczyk

As a Quirk Education Knowledge Officer embedded within the Quirk Optimise team, Anna uses her research and writing expertise to draw on Quirk's vast knowledge and practical knowhow, ensuring that Quirk Education courses are up-to-date and easy-to-understand, but still based on real-world experiences and proven campaigns.
  • 5 mistakes to avoid making in your next online campaign

    For almost any business operating in the 21st Century, digital marketing is an exciting, growing and ever more essential tool. It also seems deceptively easy – just set up a few social media accounts and write a blog and you’re set -- right? Not at all. There are many layers, nuances, tricks and best practices to online marketing -- and often these are overlooked by people who haven’t been trained in online, or simply think that they know better. Here are the top five mistakes that people make in the online space. 1. Love it and leave it A lot of time,...

  • 4 things gaming can teach education

    Gaming and education are often seen as two extremes of a spectrum -- the one is a frivolous pastime while the other is a serious, valuable activity. At the same time, we instinctively know that playing and learning are linked somehow -- after all, children and young animals use play to acquire the vital skills they’ll need for survival in the grown-up world. Think back to a time when you played an awesome game -- whether that’s a casual game like Angry Birds or Pictionary, or a full-on gaming experience like Dungeons and Dragons or Battlefield. Remember how...

  • 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...

  • What’s not working (yet) with Google+

    Despite shattering all records by gaining 10 million users in two weeks, and another 8 million the following week, Google+ is hardly the polished platform many were expecting. The new social network is still in its beta testing phase, so the issues will be fixed in future, but there are several problems already and users are clamouring for Google to fix them. Aside from the predictable bugs and server crashes, here are the top three things which just aren’t working well yet. 1. Complexity Google+ is trying to be and do a lot of things at once. Not only is it...

  • Internet on your TV: What’s all the fuss about?

    South African mobile operators Vodacom and MTN have just launched competing products that allow you to surf the internet from your TV. Vodacom’s Webbox costs R749 and allows users to browse the web, SMS and send emails using the simple keyboard and interface. MTN’s InternetOnTV costs R999 but includes more features, like a built-in phone, a high-speed modem and a computer mouse. Both services let you connect by inserting a prepaid SIM card into your device – you browse the web by buying "airtime" that converts to internet data. So, why are these products so revolutionary? Quite simply, connecting to...

  • Social branding: You can’t ignore it any more

    A company’s brand is a complex, social construction created around your products and business. The impression of a brand comes not just from what you put in your marketing messages, but it also includes all the broader feelings, connotations, interactions and emotional responses associated with it. All of these aspects are built socially, and online social media have created an unprecedented capability for customers to share and amplify these brand impressions. People enjoy talking – and complaining – about brands, so it’s vital that you are part of the conversation. Social branding is the process of marketing your brand in...

  • Self-publishing in the digital world

    One of the biggest factors that demotivates would-be novelists is the harsh reality that only a tiny fraction of all manuscripts submitted to publishers are ever picked up and professionally published. For those who don’t just want to write for the sake of it, but who actually want to share their works with the world, this thought is often enough to stop them writing altogether. However, an exciting and accessible alternative is opening up for these writers – digital self-publishing. Traditional self-publishing has always been considered an exclusive, vanity-driven niche since the associated costs are so high and willing...

  • Social networks begin shifting to a post-Facebook world

    Nobody would argue that the mammoth social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Qzone – boasting almost a billion users between them – currently dominate the social networking world. But 2011 is likely to see a considerable change in the way that users approach their social interactions. 2010 saw the major social networks dealing with privacy scares, usability issues and growing boredom with their inflexibility. It's not inconceivable that users will begin to look for something refreshing and different. The key is diversity – after growing vertically for a decade, social networks are now starting to spread horizontally to capture...

  • Five of SA’s best social media moments of 2010

    It’s been a year of highlights for South African social media, and for the first time our online trends have made a real impact on the world at large. Here are my top five picks for the funniest, most popular and most bizarre viral messages of 2010. 5. Cell C wants you to tell Trevor At number five, we have Cell C’s sometimes controversial, always intriguing marketing campaign. The mobile operator co-opted comedian Trevor Noah to become its customer experience officer (glibly named the CEO), and after a rocky start amid allegations of faking their viral campaign, it has captured...