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  • Fear of failure is robbing South Africa of great thinkers

    Fear is the greatest energy sapper. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule and fear that things might never happen as you would like them to. As someone wisely said, fear is also the parent of cruelty. Cruelty to yourself. With fear paralysis sets in, and failure, which is so necessary for rapid innovation, is lost. Find your own way by getting things done. An idea does not have to be crafted into perfection to be worthy of an audience. In fact, the mere act of speaking it will allow it to emerge as better than it currently is. Ideas are...

  • When did you last Google yourself?

    About five years ago I googled myself and there was not a single return. I was completely unknown in cyberspace, and relieved that I had not done anything to generate publicity or media attention. I was below the radar, and in terms of my parent’s life and etiquette, this was indeed a good thing. My reputation was intact, my good name preserved. I did another search the other day and the result was very different. There were 3190 returns, along with the discovery that there was more than one of me around the world, alive and...

  • Extreme Makeover: Getting unsexy or difficult brands onto social media

    Social media as a marketing platform is what most marketers are talking about these days. Helped by mass worldwide adoption, as well as wilting marketing budgets due to the recent global economic meltdown, every chief marketing officer has been under pressure to ‘get on Facebook’. As the dust settles, companies have burnt their fingers in their forays onto social media platforms, many because they operate in industries that don’t lend themselves to the free visible flow of customer interaction. Some have suggested that these brands should give social media a skip, but there are examples that have lit a...

  • Facebook: Jeremy just can’t take vaguebooking anymore!

    They’re out there right now, waiting for you. Just when you thought you would be getting through the digital part of your day in a cheerful and productive manner, that’s when they strike. No, we’re not talking about viruses or worms, this is more subtle and sinister. These are simple sentences that can reduce you to a dithering blob of irritation and anger in a matter of moments. Welcome to the wonderful world of 'vaguebooking'. 'Jeanette is wondering how she can go on like this' 'Phumla thinks this day has just gone from bad to worse' Got the picture? That’s 'vaguebooking',...

  • New cloud-hosting platform launches in SA

    Local internet service provider (ISP), RSAWEB, has launched a new cloud-hosting platform, allowing users to deploy and provision fully operational servers in minutes. The new hosting service, True Cloud Servers, is apparently "the first of its kind in South Africa". RSAWEB says the two key differences between their new cloud service and what's currently available in the local market are the speed at which servers can be deployed and provisioned, and the flexibility and scalability of their solution. The ISP says new server resources can be allocated on-demand to cater for resource-hungry applications or sudden website traffic spikes. Similar to...

  • Google Buzz up there with Julius Malema says Time Magazine

    Time Magazine has named Google Buzz as a "loser" in a list of the magazine's "Least Influential People of 2010". Google's attempt at social networking also appears to be in the same company as controversial ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema who also made the list as a "moron". Time Magazine refers to Google Buzz, which secured the number two spot on the list, as "some kind of thing on your computer". The article says: "Remember when Gmail invited you — just you! — to join Google Buzz, where you could connect all your social networks with your e-mail? Or maybe...

  • 5 easy steps to optimise your site for social media

    An entire industry has grown up around Search Engine Optimsation (SEO), but increasingly Facebook and Twitter are sending as much and sometimes more traffic to our sites than good old Google. This shift has spawned a whole new discipline – social media optimisation (SMO). Here are a few simple steps to help ensure your site is well-positioned to reap that link love. Step 1: Get SEO right No, that’s not a spelling mistake. The heart of SEO is about making it as easy as possible for machines – ie search engines – to understand your site. The same principle applies to...

  • Clever intern turns to Hitler

    An enterprising would-be intern has created (yet another) hilarious parody of the popular Adolf Hitler video clip to boost his chances of securing an internship at a well-known local Cape Town-based web agency. Impressed with his ingenuity and creativity, the local agency, Quirk eMarketing, has apparently called the intern back for another interview. The spoof clip centres around an excerpt from the film Der Untergang, and in the Quirk eMarketing parody a disgusted and furious Hitler thumbs his nose at the company after finding out he hasn’t been accepted for an intern position, even after making his CV “perfect”. It is a...

  • Integrity and gumption are key to success, says Dave Sifry

    When it comes to Silicon Valley start-ups, Dave Sifry has been there, done that, and gotten quite a few T-shirts. He founded Technorati as a little science project in his basement, is the creator of Offbeat Guides, and was the brains behind Linuxcare. A software entrepreneur who has spent over twenty years starting up Open Source and Web businesses, Sifry has built, managed, got funding and enjoyed huge success. He’s also experienced the lessons failure can bring. He spoke to Memeburn.com from San Francisco. What's the secret to raising VC funding? Step 1: Build something fantastically great. Step 2: Know how...

  • Local duo profit from ‘don’t touch me’ craze

    Two local technology enthusiasts have cleverly seized on the "Don’t Touch Me On My Studio" internet meme by opportunistically registering the domain "donttouchmeonmystudio.co.za" and creating a website highlighting satirical videos and content about the craze. The site has even diversified into selling thongs and briefs branded with the phrase. The new site, inspired by the now immortalised on-air showdown between eNews presenter Chris Maroleng and AWB secretary-general André Visage, pulls together the plethora of online content generated since the 7 April incident –- providing the user with a sort of highlights reel of all the best “hits”. The site, which was created...

  • New study reveals all about SA’s Twitter users

    A new report claims there are 1,5-million tweets every month in South Africa and 55 000 active Twitter users in the country, with the majority of users being designers, students, writers and engineers. The report, produced by Cape Town-based social media agency Fuseware, says that that SA tweets more on Tuesday than any other day of the week, while the least popular day to tweet is Sunday. It reveals that the average number of tweets per user is 346 and the average amount of Twitter followers per user is 115. About 23% of tweets are Retweets and about 47%...

  • Minorities find a home on the Internet

    Back in those heady early days of the web, before big media houses deigned to spend money online, the uncool kids, the freaks and geeks, were the netizens of this somewhat anarchic medium. With chatrooms dedicated to obscure role-playing games and forum flame wars over who shot first, they reigned supreme, finding like-minded allies in the ether. But 15 years on, the rest of your matric class is on the net, even the ten-thumbed Neanderthal who couldn’t spell email. The time of the geek it seems is past, and the Internet is for everyone. Having access is a...

  • How to get more followers on Twitter

    When I first joined Twitter I felt really lost. It looked like I’d been invited to a really great party, except that it was great for everyone else but me. Everyone looked cool, they were talking about the same things, laughing at the same jokes, and I was the new fat kid in the school that was chilling, no, not chilling, but nervously hugging the corner and sipping juice. And so I decided to leave the party early and went back to what I was familiar with, Facebook. I often refer to Time magazine’s opening line in their cover story...

  • The media is dying, long live the media

    Did you know that the first printed books in England would leave a blank rectangle at the beginning of a chapter so that an illuminated capital letter could be written in? It's a great example of a hybrid publishing system, and we can see the same, although in different forms, as publishers transition to an online model. This example, and other aspects of publishing's evolution over millennia, can be found in an excellent article based on a presentation by Guardian.co.uk Information Architect Martin Beam: Journalism in the digital age: trends, tools and technologies: "But really it has been the development of the World...

  • Cultural trends in the use of Facebook

    Business anthropologists like myself observe people’s habits and behaviours, and translate these observations into useful insights about their lives, and how they interact with products and brands. Knowing and understanding how people use products at present can enrich the understanding of future trends. Lately, I have been asked all sorts of questions regarding future trends in the use of social networks. A common question that has been posed is: What is the future of Facebook? I won’t attempt to give an answer to it in this post because I don’t think this can be predicted without exhaustive observation...