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Social

  • ‘Dear Mark Zuckerberg… I am ready to die for you.’

    Mark Zuckerberg has arrived. One stint on Saturday Night Live and Zuckerberg has acquired himself a stalker. The Facebook founder recently obtained a restraining order against 31-year-old Pradeep Manukonda, who has allegedly been sending Zuckerberg disturbing messages on Facebook. It appears the 31-year-old has taken "FaceStalking" to an offline level. According to US-based celebrity news site,TMZ, the stalker sent messages to Zuckerberg's sister (and Facebook spokeswoman) Randi Zuckerbergas well. The message pleaded with the Zuckerbergs about running out of time. In a message directed to Mark Zuckerberg, the 31-year-old stalker writes, "please help me, then I am ready to...

  • Facebook moves to massive new Silicon Valley campus

    Facebook on Tuesday announced plans to move its fast-growing operations to a sprawling Silicon Valley campus once home to Sun Microsystems. Facebook, which turned seven years old this month, has seen its ranks of employees increase by about 50 percent annually and is already cramped in the space it moved into in the city of Palo Alto in early 2009. The former Sun campus in the city of Menlo Park, which borders Palo Alto,...

  • Twitter: All talk and no action on social responsibility

    The San Francisco Bay Guardian (SFBG), a local newspaper, has published an editorial that recommends the city government not give tax breaks to Twitter. The SFBG reports that Twitter "is threatening to leave San Francisco and take 350 employees to a new headquarters in Brisbane." The move might be avoided if city officials come up with a favourable tax plan: "The latest plans call for a payroll tax exemption that would cap the company's future tax bills at US$250 000." The SFBG calls it "corporate blackmail." This is all a bit much. When I went to see Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone...

  • The politics of the Facebook friend

    Though they’re much criticised for their idiosyncrasies, the comments section on any webpage holds a morbid fascination for me. I know that the attitudes and opinions that one is likely to come across can be nasty, but just like a horror film, I can’t help but look. In my last article, a tale of, "How my 'friends' killed Facebook for me", I couldn’t help but look. Besides the groundbreaking revelation that I am a "self-important pretentious git" (a turn of phrase I must admit I rather like), some comments made a very honest point. Essentially, what they argued was, if...

  • Imogen Heap: Teaching us “Heaps” about the power of social media

    Imogen Heap sits at her see-through piano, the inside lit by coils of red-and-white Christmas lighting, a Chinese gong and the skeleton of an acacia tree dangling above her head. She flexes her delicate fingers over the keys, and then she freezes, struck by a fleeting thought. “First,” she says, turning to the audience, “I need my tea.” She hooks a dainty cup, takes a sip, and throws back her head, gurgling. Then she plays the piano and sings, the music dreamy and sinuous, her voice weaving in and out of the synthesized loops, as the stage darkens and the...

  • How US diplomats are using social media, inspired by the Obama campaign

    In 2009, the US embassy in South Africa embarked on a new approach to diplomacy. We set up a Facebook page, started a Twitter account and established a presence on MXit, a mobile chat service which attracts millions of youth. Our embrace of these social media sites reflected a shift in thinking at the US Department of State fuelled by the successful use of social media during Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign. But it is South Africa itself that has demonstrated how much we as diplomats have to gain by reaching out to citizens through new media. Our Facebook site...

  • President Zuma gathers Twitter ideas for State of the Nation address

    Governments around the world are embracing social media as a way of communicating with their citizens. The role of social media in political campaigning gained much credibility after the US election campaign of 2008, which saw President Obama swept all the way into the White House. By using the most powerful social media platforms of the day, Twitter and Facebook. governments and political figures are seeking to leverage the platforms to their advantage. When South African President Jacob Zuma takes the stage for his annual State of the Nation address on the 10th of February, a selection of the country's tweets...

  • Iconic shoe designer Kenneth Cole puts his foot in it on Twitter

    The ability to fire off a tweet in a matter of seconds without really thinking about the consequences is as much a blessing as a curse. Sometimes it really works, and sometimes the consequences are nothing but embarassing. New York-based fashion designer Kenneth Cole, famous for his men's collection of bags and shoes, got it wildly wrong this week with a tweet that was the height of bad taste. Reaction was instant and scathing across Twitter. Particularly in light of the fact that tweets signed "KC" indicate that they are from the man himself, and not some intern with a...

  • Egypt crisis: Twitter’s role [Infographic]

    Egypt is on the world's stage. The on-going political and civil unrest that peaked on January 25th when Twitter was blocked has been the topic of conversation on many social media platforms. All around Twitter the "Jan25", "Egypt" and "Mubarak" hashtags are being put to use. The battle between social media users and the government has raised some alarming concerns about censorship as well as highlighting the power of social media. Twitter has played a key role in getting the citizens' voices heard. Their recent collaboration with search giant Google, made it possible for Egyptians to tweet through voicemail....

  • Mojitos: A new approach to selling property online

    South African estate agents can learn a lot about how to grow their businesses from a Miami estate agent who posts cocktail-review videos on her website. Ines Hegedus-Garcia runs a popular property website that covers the Miami property market, but also includes regular Mojito cocktail-review videos that feature Miami restaurants. So, how exactly do cocktail-review videos build an estate agent's business? The answer lies in the power of social media. Brush away all the hype and buzzwords and social media is really just a new and exciting way for people to connect with each other. The reason it has...

  • Why emerging markets are winning the cyberspace race

    In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama called America a nation of Facebook and Google, citing that, when it came to sparking the creativity and imagination, Americans do it better than anyone else. However, Obama, an avid enthusiast of leveraging social media on a political platform, may have his optimism level set a bit too high this time. To quote Obama: "Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet....

  • 5 ways to restore your damaged online reputation

    At a recent debate entitled, “The wild wild web – who polices the internet?” South Africa’s most famous political cartoonist, Jonathan Shapiro (better known as Zapiro) spoke about a racist, right-wing website that had published some of his work. They had used it out of context in order to support their agenda. His concern was that people would find the site when searching for him and think that he endorsed their beliefs. Unfortunately the web is pretty wild and we have very little control over what other people put up – even if they say slanderous things against us. *Leila,...

  • How my ‘friends’ killed Facebook for me and turned me to Twitter

    Most of us have come a long way with Facebook in a short space of time. We've loved it, we've hated it and some of us have practically given up on it. Over the past year or so, I’ve transitioned heavily to Twitter and have of course adopted the requisite supercilious attitude towards Facebook and its members. As is so often tweeted, "Facebook is the people you went to school with whilst Twitter is the people you wish you went to school with." Bless your stone-age hearts though, some of you out there who still hold onto Facebook...

  • Man sues Facebook for $500 000

    The New York Post reports Mustafa Fteja of the city’s Staten Island borough is suing Facebook for half a million US dollars, after the social networking site cut off “his access to friends and family around the world, as well as to personal memories and photos”. The 39-year old said he has asked Facebook for months to provide an explanation, but has received no response to date. "You call, they don't answer the phone. You write, they don't reply," he said, adding he had no other option apart from legal action to acquire what his property back. "I lived in...

  • Social media: Is it a bubble and will it burst?

    Over the past few years, social media has ballooned from being a small, emerging niche into a major force in the online marketing and advertising space. However, those who lived through the dotcom boom-and-bust cycle can't help asking whether we are about to see another bubble burst. After all, the hype about social media has quickly become inflated, more brands are throwing resources into interacting with customers on social media, and there is...