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  • Lessons from social media disasters

    Social media is fast gaining acceptance as an effective way to build brand exposure and customers, as well as to improve the customer feedback mechanism. At the same time though, social media platforms can quickly turn into a disaster zone if a consumer is unhappy with a product or service and the business in question doesn’t handle the complaint quickly and effectively. This is for two main reasons: firstly, the playing fields are levelled, which means customers and businesses have equal power of voice in a public space. Secondly, social media technology enables an idea to be seen by thousands...

  • Free student tickets up for grabs for major web conference

    Financial services group, Old Mutual, is offering 17 complimentary scholarship tickets to the Tech4Africa Conference 2010 to students studying in the information technology, Web, technology or digital fields. Tech4Africa, to be held in Johannesburg on the 12-13 of August, has managed to attract some major heavy-weight international and African speakers. One of the world’s leading thinkers and writers on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies Clay Shirky will be headlining the conference. He will also be joined by Matthew Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress -- the blogging software that runs millions of websites around the world. Shirky and...

  • A World Cup marketing lesson: You can’t own the flag

    If there is one valuable lesson for marketers and advertisers this World Cup season, it lies in the fact that big brands don’t own and drive big emotions: people do. Just take a look around. I was taking my dog for a walk the other day, just before the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when a bakkie full of Bafana-fanatics roared past me, tooting, wavin’ flags, and just generally making “waka waka”. I knew I had to do something in return, so I shouted the first word that sprang...

  • Vuvuzela anger blows onto Facebook

    The controversial vuvuzela, which is a regular feature of South African football matches, seems to be causing even more of a stir on Facebook than in the stadiums and fan parks across the World Cup in South Africa. While various groups and pages have popped up on Facebook in support of the vuvuzela, it seems that the majority of vuvuzela-themed activity on the world’s largest social network has been aimed at banning the one-metre long plastic horn. The largest of these anti-vuvuzela pages, called FIFA - BAN THE ANNOYING VUVUZELA (HORN) FROM THE SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP!, has already attracted...

  • Expert advice: Cracking the mobile web

    Take a tree. It provides shade. It let’s you string up a hammock and allows you to build a tree house. Now take a tiny little tree – a bonsai. Small. Cute. Portable. Convenient. Fits in your pocket. It may look exactly like a full-size tree, but it isn’t. This single, critical truth is the first thing that needs to be accepted by those wanting to explore the mobile web or provide a service for it. The mobile web simply isn’t the world wide web you access on your computer. It can’t be. It will never be. The mobile phone in...

  • Interview: Shuttleworth opens up to Memeburn

    An intensely private person who rarely gives personal interviews, Mark Shuttleworth spoke to Memeburn.com about what he values most in life, why he doesn’t want to be a role model, and what the sexiest technology is around today. The founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, Shuttleworth became a billionaire after selling Thawte to Verisign. He is the founder of investment company Here Be Dragons and The Shuttleworth Foundation, which aims to make the world a better place by investing in education and technology projects that drive significant social change. Shuttleworth also made headlines around the world when he became the...

  • A few reasons why Google TV won’t succeed

    Google has been pretty busy in the first half of 2010, and one of their new products, dubbed Google TV, is an ambitious play into merging new media with mass media. In the words of the internet giant: “Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. But will Google TV succeed? Firstly, almost every feature that you can find in Google TV is already present...

  • World-wide Twitter trend frenzy ushers in World Cup day

    Twitter was abuzz with World Cup fever on Friday, with seven out of 10 of its trending topics highlighting the world football spectacle. The trending topics, listed on the microblogging and social networking site, included #WC2010 #WorldCup #Bafana #SudAfrica #FIFAWorldCup #NelsonMandela. One of the trending tags also referred to "Bafana" -- in reference to the nickname of the South African national football squad "Bafana Bafana", meaning "The Boys" in Zulu. On Wednesday "Vuvuzela" quickly become a trending topic when South Africa and parts of the world celebrated the "Vuvuzela Moment" by blowing the local trumpet-like instruments in unison on noon that...

  • New Google doodle by 13-year old to celebrate world cup

    Google on Friday sported an interesting new "doodle" on its South African web presence to celebrate the kick-off of the Fifa World Cup. What made the doodle even more special is that it was created by a 13-year old. Nikisha Lalloo from Port Elizabeth was crowned the national winner of the Doodle 4 Google ‘Love Football’ competition. Nikisha is now one step closer to being a global winner, emerging as the top young South African artist to enter the competition. Nikisha's logo design was displayed on the Google South Africa homepage on Friday. In addition to her doodle...

  • CNN, Foursquare team up to connect World Cup fans

    Putting soccer fans at the heart of its 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage, CNN has checked in with location-based social network Foursquare to connect fans all over the world throughout the month-long tournament. This is the first time Foursquare has teamed up with a media company for a multi-country initiative, with this one stretching across all 32 countries represented in the World Cup. Starting Friday, World Cup fans who follow CNN at www.foursquare.com/cnn can check in at more than 100 venues to unlock special CNN badges. In order to unlock these badges, fans must check in at least three times...

  • Measuring success: Is your website a hotel or a homeless shelter?

    For many inexperienced webmasters, the hallmark of a successful website lies in its popularity or the amount of 'hits' it gets every month. The apparent reasoning behind this fallacy is that if people are visiting the site it must be fulfilling its purpose. People wouldn't be wasting their time on something that doesn't work, right? Think of a website like a 'hotel'. The hotelier (or webmaster) tells you "3000 people slept here last night," and whilst that's an impressive figure, what he has failed to mention is that his 'hotel' is actually a poorly-funded homeless shelter, and it actually costs...

  • Saving journalism by paying for impressions not words

    Every year hundreds of journalism graduates enter the market looking for work, and these are bad times to find a job in the newspaper business. Newspapers are seeing falls annually in advertising and subscriber revenues. With most of their content, or at least similar content, available on the web for free, why even bother buying or subscribing to a newspaper these days? It is clear: newspapers are going the way of the Rotary Phone, and they are in desperate need of a new business model. The consequences of the end of the traditional business model, based on 80% advertising...

  • Social media tips: In-house or outsource?

    Once you’ve decided to start a social media campaign, your next big decision is who is going to run it. You can either run it in-house using your own employees, or you can outsource it to an agency -- whether it’s a digital marketing, public relations (PR), advertising, or specialised social media agency. If you’re a business, getting an agency to run your social media campaign means you gain access to their social media expertise, where in comparison, your knowledge and experience may be limited. You’ll also save time, as a successful social media campaign involves constant listening and...

  • Local student wins prestigious Google scholarship

    A computer science student at Rhodes University in Grahamstown has won a prestigious Google scholarship and is set to fly to Zurich this month to take part in a networking retreat there. Sinini Ncube’s master's research programme involved “an investigation into the use of web-based user interfaces for the visualisation of zoonotic disease outbreaks.” The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is awarded by Google in memory of Dr Anita Borg, who was a pioneer in shaping the relationship between women and technology. Ncube, who is “thrilled and amazed by this award”, has been working on ways of using the web...

  • Should we be designing for legacy browsers?

    Web designers have been on the frontlines of the browser-war battlefields for some time now, dodging the shells of legacy browsers exploding all over carefully-crafted pages. Even the design of a simple page would require the designer to have an arsenal of hacks and tricks to ensure cross-browser compatibility. But is it time for the designers and developers to stop fighting the good fight and move the industry forward by refusing to design for legacy browsers? Certainly with the advent of Internet Explorer (IE) 7, some great strides were taken towards a more compatible infrastructure in terms of how designs...