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All posts by Catherine Murray: Columnist

Catherine Murray: Columnist
Catherine is currently the Senior Account Manager at Creative Spark Interactive in Cape Town, where she is attempting to whip everyone into shape at breakneck speed. Prior to this she was Head of Online at Atalink Ltd, a specialist publishing company based in Central London for 5 years, where she managed the development of news and feature based websites and other online projects, aimed at the business, IT and finance sectors in the UK, mostly using open source development platforms. She majored in Journalism & Media Studies and Political Science at Rhodes University, specialising first in television, then online and multimedia production at the New Media Lab. After completing her degree she packed her rucksack and caught a flight to Colorado where she spent 5 months flying down mountains on a snowboard. She then moved to London to set up a base for travelling the world and building her career in online media. She is absolutely passionate about South Africa and technology in emerging markets. She is also a budding photographer, and loves mountain biking, sushi, coffee, travelling, sunshine, swimming in the sea, climbing mountains and escaping to the bush.
  • The challenges of ecommerce in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    Building an ecommerce business in Africa is a markedly different process from other, more developed parts of the world as well as other emerging markets. The business models, operations and marketing solutions that work for Amazon, for example, probably won’t work in Africa which is evolving very differently in terms of infrastructure and economic growth. Sim Shagaya, founder and chief executive of DealDey and Konga in Nigeria, has first hand experience building a successful ecommerce business model in a country with limited infrastructure and no real history of structured and formal retail. DealDey has grown into a successful ecommerce, group-buying hybrid...

  • Tech4Africa: How usable is your digital product, really?

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” -- Albert Einstein Simplicity is at the core of great digital user experience, whether you’re building a website, app or any other digital marketing campaign. Making sure your user’s experience is slick, smooth and, most importantly, gives them the information they want quickly and easily, will determine the success or failure of your product or campaign. What exactly is “user experience” (UX)? UX is a hot buzzword at the moment, but misunderstanding what...

  • 8 great ads that’ll get you psyched for the Olympics

    We’ve already brought you our pick of historic Olympic moments that will make you cringe and cry, now here are some great Olympic advertising moments that will inspire and excite you instead. Olympic rules regarding sponsorships and brand associations with the event are very strict, so the official sponsors have, by and large, produced the best campaigns we've seen and you’ll probably see a lot more of them in the coming weeks all over the world. A few cheeky competitors have also cashed in on the spirit. Bring on London 2012! Philip is here (again). 1. P&G -- Best Job Proctor & Gamble...

  • The year that was: Memorable Twitter trends of 2011

    The highs and lows of the past year, as experienced by the Twitterverse. Worldwide Events & News Mubarak's resignation (#cairo #mubarak #egypt #jan25) After eighteen days of protests in Egypt and pleas on various social media platforms, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February this year generating buzz worldwide, particularly with regard to the role of social media in the protests Following the detention of Egyptian online activist Wael Ghonim #Jan25 also became a rallying point for those supporting his ideals. Libyan uprisings and Gaddafi's death (#gadafi #gaddafi #muammergaddafi #qaddafi #libya) Libya followed swiftly in Egypt’s footsteps with violent uprisings that started in...

  • 38 emerging South African tech entrepreneurs to watch [Part I]

    The technology space is particularly notable for the amount of entrepreneurial activity it attracts. The word "startup" has become almost synonymous with the tech and online space and there are thousands of entrepreneurs that run small and large companies that are carving out niches for themselves. The high amount of entrepreneurial activity in the tech sector may be explained by the fact that the costs of starting an online business are low. You don't need a factory or heavy-lifting equipment to start an online business, and the people found in the sector are highly skilled. Also, we all know about the...

  • The African ecommerce opportunity [NetProphet]

    Ecommerce is on the rise around the globe at a rapid pace, driven by the huge successes of online retailers in the US and Europe, such as Amazon.com which has scaled up exponentially in recent years. It may come as a surprise, but the most successful ecommerce market place is actually in the Far East, South Korea to be precise, where the government and private sector are pushing for affordable broadband access,...

  • Get your tweet on in support of World TB Day

    It’s World Tuberculosis Day today, 24 March 2011 and Lancet Laboratories in South Africa has launched a Twitter campaign to help raise awareness about the disease by motivating Twitter fans to use the hashtag #WorldTBDay in their tweets. The online campaign moves beyond the usual poster and leaflet health-education campaign and is intended to help start a conversation about TB, between ordinary South Africans, by targeting key members of the South African Twitter...

  • 10 YouTube best practice tips for business

    Video provides a powerful tool for any business to promote its products and services. YouTube, however, is particularly useful for small businesses as it is free, easy to use, and reaches a mass market audience. The concept of filming, editing and uploading video can be very intimidating for someone with no experience with the medium, but creating video for YouTube is not as difficult as you might think and there are plenty of user-friendly tools and tips out there to help you on your way (more below). Some ways in which YouTube can help you run and promote your business...

  • Warner Bro’s tries direct streaming movie rentals on Facebook

    Media giant Warner Brothers announced this week that it has partnered with Facebook to test whether the social network’s 600+ million users would be willing to pay to stream movies directly through the site. Warner Bros. has started the trial with the smash hit 2008 Batman movie, The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger. The movie is available for rent from the movie’s Facebook fan page using Facebook’s virtual currency (in the U.S. only at the moment), and users will have to pay 30 Facebook Credits (US$3) to watch it. The...

  • Will Radiohead’s digital strategy save the music industry?

    Radiohead made a surprise announcement this week that its new album "The King of Limbs" will be available for digital download on its website from Saturday 19 February. A message posted on the Oxford band’s website detailed how fans can purchase the eighth studio album, again produced and self-released independently of any major record label and with no corresponding iTunes launch. The band has called The King of Limbs the “world’s first newspaper album” (perhaps paying homage to a noticeable victim of the Internet Age), and the release is characteristically experimental in strategy and pricing. No tracklisting or information of...

  • LinkedIn comes of age as the business login of choice [Infographic]

    Career-centric social networking site LinkedIn is rapidly gaining ground as the login of choice on business-to-business (B2B) websites. The site is showing signs of eating into Facebook’s increasing dominance over the past year as a user identity and login on third party websites. ReadWriteWeb reports that Gigya, a provider of tools for social sharing and third-party logins, assessed the numbers and found that, since its last round-up of social logins in July 2010, LinkedIn has skyrocketed as the login of choice for B2B sites. These figures confirm the notion that users prefer to use differing online identities for certain online activities,...

  • 12 ways to mind your technology manners

    In simpler days gone by, people used to operate within a defined set of rules regarding professional and private communication -- rules which have largely fallen into disuse with the development of new technology. The line between public and private is now virtually non-existent in many cases, and we are forced into constant communication, and being available 24/7 which is not a healthy way to live. Simply put, minding our technology manners can free up a lot of our time, and make us much more pleasant to be around. Using proper communication etiquette shows respect and consideration for others, and...

  • Facebook rolls out ‘Sponsored Stories': What you need to know

    Facebook has this week announced a new ad format, already rolling out across the site from 25 January, which will turn some of your friends’ shared activities into promotional content. Sponsored Stories is the new ad unit which will turn four specific types of user actions into featured advertisements: Likes, Places checkins, Actions within custom applications and Page updates which would normally show up in a user's news feed. So if a company has a custom Facebook app, it can promote user actions within those apps and add its branding, as well as on posts where users mention brands or...

  • Is it a tweet or is it a status update?

    After locking my BlackBerry away for the Christmas break and enjoying the consequent peace and quiet, I’ve decided that 2011 is the year we should start de-cluttering our digital lives, and filtering out the tons of useless information we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. One of the best ways to begin is to learn how and when to use specific social networks to get the best out of them, and still save some time for yourself away from your intrusive technologies. If you can manage to use your social networking accounts as they were intended and to your best...

  • 12 social media no-no’s for the festive season

    We all know things can often get a little out of hand over the Festive “Silly Season”, with enough parties, celebrations and holiday time to make up for the long slog through the past year. Managing your social networking and other communications through the "geesfees" can be a little tricky, but we have compiled some tips to help you stay tech savvy over the holiday season, and make sure you still have a job to come back to, while you let your hair and your guard down. 1. Don’t reveal too much personal information In a moment of weakness, or Dutch courage,...