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  • Five lessons learned from Big Brother’s Facebook strategy

    Love it or hate it, Big Brother remains one of the biggest television success stories ever in Africa. The fifth season - Big Brother Africa (BBA) Allstars - drew millions of viewers across the continent, keeping them glued to their seats from July to October this year. By the end of the fourth season in 2009, the show had amassed a respectable fan base of over 100 000 Facebook users. But when BBA Allstars hit TV screens, the fan numbers quickly exploded to over 300 000 - tripling in size in just three months. How did they do it? We...

  • SA musicians invited to audition for YouTube Symphony Orchestra

    The "YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011" is looking for South African musicians to audition online for a collaborative orchestra where amateur musicians can share their knowledge and experience of making music with the support of some of the world’s leading classical artists. Musicians selected for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 will be invited to a week of rehearsals and master classes at an orchestra and summit at Sydney Opera House in March, 2011, culminating in a performance conducted by Grammy Award-winning Michael Tilson Thomas, with the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, and many other leading institutions and figures of...

  • YouTube receives a staggering 35 hours of video every minute

    YouTube said Thursday that 35 hours of video are being uploaded to the video-sharing site every minute, up from 24 hours per minute in March. Hunter Walk, director of product management at Google-owned YouTube, said the number of uploads to YouTube has more than doubled in the last two years. The rate of 35 hours of video per minute works out to 50,400 hours of video every day. "Another way to think about it is: if three of the major US networks were broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for the last 60 years, they...

  • Google Instant Preview: What it means for site design

    Google Instant Preview is a relatively new feature on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). When a user hovers over a search result, Instant Preview displays a large image preview of the webpage that a search result will link to. It sounds simple, but it adds a whole new dimension of information for searchers deciding on what search result to click through to, and could have an immense impact on the way sites are designed from this point onward. The first big issue The demise of Flash gathers pace. Google Instant Preview does not currently support Flash, and replaces any...

  • Cubans unimpressed by ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ storyline

    Cuba's state-run media and bloggers are not amused at "Call of Duty: Black Ops," a new videogame in which the player can join a secret operation in the 1960s to assassinate former leader Fidel Castro. "What the United States government did not manage to do in 50 years, now it attempts to accomplish by virtual means," said comments Wednesday on the website Cubadebate, where Castro regularly publishes opinion pieces. The site was referring to the numerous plots to kill the Cuban president, which the government said numbers 638. The latest installment of the hit "Call of Duty" franchise went on sale in...

  • 8 things you must know about Facebook competitions

    Facebook may seem like the perfect place to run a competition or sweepstake to promote your business while gaining fans for your Facebook Page, but be warned, it’s not that simple. The rules for the site have become so much more stringent than they used to be, following a major revision at the end of 2009. The options for small businesses and charities wanting to host a promotion on Facebook are especially small. Facebook’s rules are set out in its Promotions Guidelines, which govern the publicising or administering of any sweepstakes, contest, competition or other similar offering by a user on...

  • Android now second biggest smartphone platform after Nokia, says Gartner

    Google's Android mobile operating system surged past Apple's iPhone and RIM's Blackberry in the third quarter to become the second biggest smartphone platform after Nokia's Symbian, research firm Gartner said Wednesday. Gartner said Finland's Nokia sold 29.5 million smartphones during the third quarter of the year for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market, down from 44.6 percent a year ago. Sales of Android-powered smartphones soared to 20.5 million units, giving the Android platform a 25.5 percent market share, up from just 3.5 percent a year ago, Gartner said. Apple's iPhone was next on sales of 13.5 million units for a...

  • Do our ad agencies care about social media?

    The advertising industry has always been full of paradoxes. It attracts highly creative minds but is the engine of consumerism. It projects a wildly liberal and party-mad persona, yet is renowned for rampant sexism and workaholic tendencies. Still, as someone who’s worked in a variety of traditional agencies (with a variety of egos), it really is the frontline of consumer communication. Great advertising moves and entertains. It can inspire people and cause mini-revolutions. Sadly, for all its creativity, the local industry has not embraced the new social media advertising order, even though it is rapidly being adopted overseas. Take a look at...

  • Showcasing social media case studies from around the world

    I enjoyed the Bees Awards gala evening at the fabulous Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. It was well attended and a well-dressed crowd, making a nice change from the typical geek events I go to where dressing down is considered dressing up. Bastien Beauchamp and his team did a good job of presenting the event and keeping things moving along. There were a lot of awards, 16, in categories such as "Best 140 Characters Message (SMS, Tweet)." Here is the list of winners including "Best Agency" Saatchi & Saatchi LA. This agency seemed a bit over represented in a bunch...

  • Indonesian minister sparks Twitter row over Michelle Obama

    The Indonesian media and blogosphere lit up on Thursday with condemnation of a conservative Muslim minister who expressed embarrassment about shaking hands with US First Lady Michelle Obama. Critics accused the minister of lying about the "hand-shaking incident" and bringing shame to the mainly Muslim country, which President Barack Obama held up as a model of tolerance and diversity during his brief visit this week. The First Lady became the unwitting focus of an online debate over religious tolerance and women's rights when Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring messaged his thousands of Twitter followers that he had reluctantly shaken hands with her...

  • Popular SA magazines go digital via kalahari.net

    One of the country’s largest online retailers kalahari.net has expanded its digital content offering by selling electronic versions of some popular magazine titles online, mainly from the Media24 stable. These include You, Huisgenoot, Go!, Ideas and other titles. They are now available for purchase in digital format, with others to be added on an ongoing basis. Gerjo Hoffman, Senior Category Manager of eContent at kalahari.net says the addition of eMagazines to kalahari.net’s offering forms part of a drive to expand its digital offering beyond eBooks. “We are making the adoption of this new format as easy as possible. This can be...

  • Ask.com gives up on search

    Internet search engine Ask.com is laying off 130 staffers in the United States and China and refocusing its search efforts on a service that uses real human beings to help answer questions. Leslie Cafferty, a spokesperson for Ask's owners, says that Ask which has struggled to carve out a significant share of the Web search market, is laying off employees at facilities in New Jersey and Hangzhou, China. Cafferty said the move was part of a strategic shift by Ask to focus on its question-and-answer service rather than traditional search, which is dominated by Google with a more than 66 percent...

  • The Julius Malema Twitter guide: Will the real fake Juju please tweet up!

    When the ANC Youth League made its inflammatory attack on Twitter last week, it was hoping to scare the fake Malemas into silence. Clearly, that plan has backfired, and the official statement from Youth League Spokesman Floyd Shivambu was the spark that ignited a whole new flurry of Malema impersonation... At the time of writing, there were 22 fake Julius Malema accounts on Twitter, ranging from the very active and funny to the practically libelous and offensive. We've taken a look at them all, and tried to give you some insights into which accounts are worth following. If it's not featured...

  • How SMS is being used in the fight against HIV in Kenya

    Using mobile-phone text messages to remind HIV patients to take their dose of life-saving medications can give a major boost to drug adherence, according to an innovative trial in Kenya unveiled this week. In the "WelTel Kenya1" study, three clinics recruited 538 patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They either received the weekly SMS message on their mobile phone in addition to a standard course of antiretroviral drugs or were given standard care alone. The text recipients typically received the discreet message "Mambo?", which is Kiswahili for "How are you?" They were instructed to reply "Sawa" ("fine") or "Shida" ("problem") within...

  • How the mobile phone can make you a healthier person

    Mobile technology can help improve global health with cheap diagnostic tools, patient reminders and making immunisation programs more efficient, says Microsoft founder Bill Gates. "The mobile phone is pretty interesting for lots of things," Gates said in a keynote address at the mHealth Summit in Washington, a gathering of public and private sector groups and companies involved in mobile technology and health. "There's a whole lot of opportunities," said Gates, who stepped down from day-to-day duties at Microsoft two years ago to concentrate on global health care through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "I think we have to approach these things...