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  • South Africa’s Presidency calls for a social media dialogue on nation building

    The South African government is reaching out via social media to the nation in an attempt to "stimulate a constructive Nation Building debate on values and ethics". The debate is taking place from the 28th of March until the 1st of April on the Presidency's Facebook page. This national outreach program has been created by the National Planning Commission (NPC), a body chaired by the Minister in The Presidency for National Planning, Trevor Manuel. The NPC has been tasked with developing a draft long term Vision Statement and Strategic National Plan 2025 for South Africa. It was nearly one year...

  • Mozilla Firefox 4 now available in Zulu

    Translate.org.za and its community of volunteer translators have customised Mozilla's hugely popular Firefox web browser to support Zulu. This is the culmination of work that started in 2009 through Translate's participation in the African Network for Localisation (ANLoc), a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). One day after the global release of Firefox 4 on 22 March 2011, the web started buzzing with many conversations, blogs and comments about 'cool features to drool over in Firefox 4',  Zulu speaking South Africans can for the first time join in the conversation. Ten percent of South Africa's population, about 5...

  • The Bees: Global social media awards were postponed, now back on again

    It's been a topsy-turvy week for The Bees, the international social media awards which debuted in 2010. On the 24th of March, an email went around the social media community announcing that the awards would be "postponed until further notice due to insufficient funding". But a search to the website four days later revealed that the awards were back on again with a simple paragraph on the homepage, which says "The Bees are back! We apologise for the interruption. The show will go on. Agencies, brands, consultant, students, and companies are invited to submit their social media work to...

  • China’s top internet portal drops Google for own technology

    Sina, China's largest internet portal, said Tuesday it has replaced Google's search service on its websites with its own technology. A move that further dents the US giant's presence in the Asian nation. "Our contract ended this month and the whole websites are now using our own search technology," Liu Qi, a spokesman for Sina said, adding the Chinese firm no longer had any cooperative agreements with Google. The US web giant has been losing search engine market share in China since January last year, when it said it was no longer willing to self-censor content to comply with...

  • Twitter’s future with third party apps

    February’s shutdown of three UberMedia owned Twitter platforms, most famously UberTwitter now named UberSocial, for “Terms of Service violations,” was seen by many as an attempt to force users onto Twitter’s official BlackBerry application -- Twitter for BlackBerry. A move that essentially suggested that Twitter would maximise current or future advertising revenues. A post by Ryan Sarver, Twitter Head of Platform & API, on the future of the company, third party clients and their developers, also unveiled tightened Terms of Service. This caused further accusations of deviousness to be lobbed at Twitter. Much of this reaction was a result of...

  • Six ways companies cash in on Facebook ads

    We have all seen them, but how many of us have made good use of Facebook ads? The major selling point on a network site of users that surpasses the size of most countries is this: the ads only display on the Facebook pages of the exact people you want to reach. Here are six ways to make Facebook ads your new Facebook friend: Know your target audience The social networking giant allows you choose the users who will view your ads. It’s up to you to enter the game knowing your guidelines and designing an ad campaign based on...

  • Discover your world with Twitter

    Twitter's homepage normally houses a demo video that explains the microblogging site to newcomers. The video shows us the various way to use Twitter and how to get the most out of the site. The demo video has now been replaced by a new video titled: "Follow your interest. Discover your world". The new video showcases high profile Twitter users talking about what they care about, who they follow and what they want to know. Successful entrepreneur Richard Branson (@RichardBranson) says he uses Twitter, "to learn about things and share what people are doing to make the world a...

  • Quick hits around the African tech scene

    There's a lot happening in and around the African tech scene. Take a look at some of the most important developments. Umbono: Google’s South African Incubator In Cape Town, Google has initiated a tech incubator that gives 6 months of free space, US$25-50k startup funding and access to an extensive mentoring network. The secret sauce here is in the angel & mentor network, who will be providing 50% of all investment money, while Google provides the rest. Johanna Kollar leads this initiative, and tells me they’re looking for at least five companies to get behind in this first go at...

  • Cars get connected with onboard internet access

    A few months ago we published a story about innovations in the world of automobile from the North America International Auto show. We also explore Ford's latest innovation, MyFord Touch and the introduction of fifth screens for cars. It seems the world of automobile is expanding more in terms connectivity. More cars are hitting the information superhighway thanks to new automotive WiFi technology that allows vehicles to become rolling "hot spots." Analysts say consumers are warming to the notion of more connectivity in their cars, with "apps" for information and entertainment just as they have with their smartphones or tablet...

  • Understanding Color a little better

    It's a shame that the US$41-million funding of Color Labs has dominated the news about Color, a radically different type of mobile app, because that's what's interesting. Color shares photos with everyone around you that has the app on their iPhone or Android device. There are no privacy settings and you don't need to "friend" or "follow" anyone -- it automatically creates an ad hoc social network within 50 yards of your location. It's a fascinating concept and it will be interesting to see just how much people want to connect with strangers, where often the only thing they have in...

  • Giving a voice to the turmoil in the Middle East via Twitter

    For the nearly 40 000 followers of his Twitter feed, Andy Carvin is providing a unique window into the turmoil in the Middle East. For a media industry facing its own ferment, Carvin, who works online for National Public Radio (NPR), is offering a glimpse into journalism's future, using the Web to report the historic events in a fresh and innovative way. The Washington-based Carvin has been glued to his desktop at work and his laptop at home since late December, firing off tweets first on the protests in Tunisia and continuing through Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. Carvin's Twitter...

  • 5 steps ensuring social media serves your business

    Social media is a vital part of any online marketing campaign. It is an important fact that marketers need to understand. However, getting to a point where your business has successful integrated this reality may prove a little tricky. Here are five steps to ensuring social media is on your side in the marketing game. Define your target It may seem that there is one objective – marketing. The bigger picture is a little more complex. Research if your targeted outcome has the SEO ranking to create awareness of your brand, PR or traffic. The social media trend is...

  • China goes crazy for group buying

    Liu Wen, following the trends of the millions of like-minded Chinese, is completely fascinated by group buying, which has completely overwhelmed eCommerce in a country where getting the best possible discount is virtually a national pastime. "My first experience was buying a beauty salon coupon. I just wanted to try it and it was great value," the 24-year-old children's chess teacher said. "Ever since, I've gotten in the habit of using it to buy meals every time I go to a restaurant," she said. In group buying, websites offer goods or services at a special low price, but on the condition that...

  • YouTube begot the Rebecca Blacks, we entertained the mediocrity

    YouTube is a great medium. It has allowed many of us to chase dreams that once seemed lost and explore new aspects of ourselves. The video sharing site's tagline is "broadcast yourself" -- but let's face it: not everything needs a public platform. Rebecca Black's song certainly didn't need one. Neither did the countless other terrible videos that just haven't been "lucky" enough to get hated into a trending topic. Rebecca Black is not the problem nor is her monotone atrocity of a song (maybe the song is a little) but it is more of a reflection on our...

  • Mobile threats double in number over past year

    Kaspersky Lab data shows that the number of malicious programs targeting mobile devices has more than doubled between August 2009 and December 2010. In 2010, over 65% more new threats targeting mobile devices were detected than in the previous year; and over 1 000 variants from 153 different families of mobile threats were included in Kaspersky Lab’s databases by the end of 2010. As noted by Denis Maslennikov, a Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab and author of Mobile Malware Evolution, “The list of platforms targeted by malicious programs expanded considerably in 2010.” The growing popularity of the Android platform has...