• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Herman Manson (@marklives)

Herman Manson (@marklives)
The inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011, Herman Manson (@marklives) is a freelance business journalist and media commentator who blogs at www.marklives.com and his writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines locally and abroad. He also co-founded Brand magazine and is a columnist for BizCommunity.com.
  • CityMob: How a startup pivoted from group-buying into flash sales

    CityMob, the group buying site started by three entrepreneurs in Cape Town in early 2011, has made a significant change in direction as the shake-out in the group buying market continues. Although profitable at the time the trio -- Luke Jedeikin, Claude Hanan and Daniel Solomon, had decided to move away from the mass discount, quantity over quality focus in much of the group buying space. As their competitors closed up shop, including the Naspers backed Dealify and the Avusa backed Zappon, the CityMob founders had already identified their key differentiator and were planning the relaunch of their business as...

  • Media corrections and our social reputations

    The modern news cycle has been diminished to a matter of minutes -- even less on services like Twitter. And it seems to just keep speeding up. As newsrooms become increasingly hard pressed to produce news content quickly -- very quickly -- they find themselves facing an audience that demands near immediate reporting on events and expects that reporting to be factually correct. But journalists make mistakes too and maybe as a profession it has sold itself into the 'we are relevant because we only publish the facts' corner too effectively. 'You can trust that we will be transparent in how...

  • Occupy Twitter in the name of the global citizen

    Twitter can now censor tweets by country. National borders, drawn on paper and defended with razor wire and guns in the physical world, now have a presence on the internet as well. You won't find politicians complaining -- but maybe the rest of us should. It was interesting to see how Twitter decided to break the news of its new localised censorship policy -- in the name of transparency of course -- by framing it through the blighted heritage of the Nazis that will see it abiding by national laws in France, Germany and Israel banning pro-Nazi content. It was...

  • Magazine mindset undermines tablet opportunity

    The rush by media owners to embrace tablets borders on the unseemly. And who can blame them given the continued decline of print revenue and resistance by folk to pay for content on the internet. Tablets, we are told, are much closer to print magazines than to the free-for-all interwebs. Publishers like tablets because they bring people back into "closed" environments through apps. Closing the circle and getting people to "stick" around on one media property was also the purpose of the mega-portals from the 90s. Pull people in, monopolize their attention, and revenue must follow; the argument went. Of course...

  • Mandela ‘death’ hoax exposes weakness of Twitter as news platform

    The retweet didn't kill the newsman, after all. As it turns out, the growth of Twitter simply reiterates the essential role of journalists in sifting through and filtering the rumour mill that hangs around the neck of the information economy. And a good thing it is, too. This past weekend, users on social network Twitter inadvertently spread a rumour that Nelson Mandela had died. Many contributed to its spread by asking in tweets whether the rumour of his death was correct, thus spreading news of the rumour, rather than the rumour itself, but the end result was pretty much the...

  • Emerging market journos embrace social media, unlike Western news brands

    The stringent social media policies adapted by some Western newsrooms indicate an inflexibility in adapting to a changed information and news environment. This has left the door open for journalists in developing economies to step up and drive adoption of social media tools in journalism. Important US-based papers such as the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are choosing to restrict use of social networks by journalists. These are papers with proud journalistic traditions which have helped define modern journalism. An extract from the Washington Posts' social media policy reads, "Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything...

  • What WikiLeaks means for a government’s assault on media freedom

    What happens when a government moves to clamp down on media freedom? It might simply force journalists in that country to adopt the WikiLeaks model when it comes to publishing sensitive information.  Here's an example: The South African government recently announced a triple play to clamp down on media freedom in that country, a move which may force journalists to a model akin to WikiLeaks. Concern is mounting over the country's proposed apartheid-inspired Protection of Information Bill, which will give government sweeping powers to declare virtually any information "in the national interest" (and classify it), making it illegal for journalists...

  • The rise of eBooks and the myth of affordability

    Major drum roll from the guys at Amazon.com for their announcement that "Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books (eBooks) than hardcover books." The group went on to claim that for every 100 hardcover books sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books, and also announced that Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Trilogy, has sold one million Kindle books. The statistics given out by the giant online retailer don't look quite so amazing when put in proper context. In fact, quite a different story emerges that indicates the traditional publishing business is unprepared to embrace the new dynamics eBooks bring...

  • When tweeting an opinion is a fireable offence, media loses

    Last week CNN fired one of its senior editors, Octavia Nasr, after she paid her respects in a tweet following the death of a controversial Lebanese Shia cleric. The cleric in question, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, has been associated with Hezbollah, which is deemed a terrorist organisation by most Western governments. The tweet that cost Nasr her job read "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.. #Lebanon." She would later attempt to clarify and contextualise her tweet in a blog post, but Atlanta would have none of...

  • Twitter breaks news, but will it break journalism?

    Twitter's value to breaking news quickly and efficiently is beyond doubt, but the accuracy of the news being reported is far from perfect. This weekend, Twitter was abuzz with the news that South Africa’s former national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, was found guilty of both charges he was facing. But the initial buzz on Twitter was wrong, or at least not 100% accurate. At first it was reported on Twitter that he was found guilty on charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. What happened initially was that journalists reporting from the courthouse got the first tweet wrong, which meant all the retweets got...

  • The future of mobile app development lies in simplicity

    With the move of computing power away from the desktop to cellphones and other mobile devices, computing is becoming increasingly intimate and integrated into daily life. In his latest book, "Mobile Mania", Simon Silvester (EVP Head of Planning at Young and Rubicam and Executive Planning Director, Wunderman Europe Middle East and Africa), argues that computings’ new intimacy, driving as it does aspects of our social, shopping, travel and personal communication, offers amazing opportunities for mobile app developers and entrepreneurs. Memeburn.com caught up with Simon Silvester to find out where he believes the future of mobile app development rests. Memeburn: You...

  • 4 funny Tweeters cheering up #worldcup supporters

    At around R25-billion in value, football is a serious business for FIFA. While all this seriousness can easily weigh on the game's natural "joie de vivre", there are still some mavericks out there poking fun at the expense of the giant, mini-dress hating, wad of cash that is FIFA and its associated media circus. Here are four Twitter accounts worth following this World Cup if you're looking for a good dose of humour: Name: @FIFAGlobalPR Location: We are everywhere Bio: This page exists to get FIFA's message and mission statement out into the twitterverse! Best Tweet: We love vuvuzelas, they distract the public from...