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  • Woolworths: The shifting nature of brands

    It’s no surprise to me that brand after brand make the same mistakes when responding to online, and especially social media, attacks. From the famous Dell Hell, through the Kryptonite lock fiasco to the more recent Nestle and BP protests. The latest saga was the extremist Christian response via Facebook to the Woolworths' management decision to no longer stock certain Christian religious magazines in its stores. The standard corporate reaction is predictable and certain to meet with failure. It’s based on the delusion of brand strategists and corporate management that they are still in control of their brands. While Cellular operator,...

  • Nokia shifts further away from Symbian as company reports big profits, job cuts

    The world's top mobile phone maker Nokia on Thursday said it would cut 1 800 jobs after announcing stellar third-quarter results one month into the mandate of a new chief executive. Also announcing a major strategy shift, Nokia said it would now focus on developing applications on the Qt framework, which essentially removes the somewhat conflicting two-headed approach of developing for both Symbian and MeeGo. "Historically, the company had said, here's Symbian 3, and there will be another big thing called Symbian 4 in the future, which represented a binary break... this is not a recommended strategy," Elop said. The shift to...

  • Shel Israel: Social media is modern-day storytelling

    At the core of every culture is "storytelling", says Shel Israel, a San Francisco-based social media strategist and author of the book, “Twitterville: How Businesses can Thrive in the New Global Neighbourhoods”. Speaking at the WTF conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Israel spoke about how social media is simply a new toolset that capitalises on this age-old impulse to tell stories. To illustrate this, many of the examples of social media he used have little to do with commercial or business applications; rather, they’ve changed the social or political landscape in some way. Through these examples, Israel shows...

  • So you work on the internet. But what do you do?

    New buzzwords and job titles abound in the world of online marketing and web development. This is partly due to savvy (and not so savvy, but very irritating) people inventing titles and catch phrases by the minute in an attempt to conjure up an atmosphere of uniqueness, expertise and even celebrity. It is also, however, partly due to the complexity of the web increasing at such a rapid pace, resulting in more specialised fields and more specialised people. I’m expecting to have a lot of comments from disgruntled achronym’d ninjas, insisting my definitions are wrong, so let's see this as...

  • US$250-million fund created for social Internet innovators

    Facebook, Amazon and Zynga have announced they have teamed with a top Silicon Valley venture capital firm to create a US$250-million fund for entrepreneurs making the Internet more social. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) announced the "sFund," an initiative to invest in new social applications and online services. "We're at the beginning of a new era for social Internet innovators who are re-imagining and re-inventing a Web of people and places, looking beyond documents and websites," said KPCB partner John Doerr. "There's never been a better time than now to start a new social venture.' US cable Internet and television service provider...

  • Google says 250 000 Germans have opted out of Street View

    Nearly a quarter of a million Germans have asked Google to block images of their houses, the US Internet giant said on Thursday as it prepared to launch its Street View service in the country. Google has already rolled out its navigation service in 20 countries but exceptionally, due to heightened privacy concerns in Germany, has offered to pixel out buildings before the pictures are published online. "We're now close to launching Street View imagery for the 20 biggest cities in Germany and we've counted the number of households in those cities which decided to opt out," said Andreas Tuerk, Google's...

  • Woolies: Now the artists get in on the act

    Woolworths might have thought that its decision to put Christian magazines back on the shelves would put an end to the controversy which blew up yesterday. But creative minds have been inflamed, and have taken this as an excuse to begin some hilarious, thought-provoking parodies that are adding fuel to the fire. In case you missed the story, Woolworths announced earlier in the week that they were unhappy with the sales of their faith-based magazines and would be removing them from the shelves. This provoked a massive, vocal response from outraged evangelical Christians via social media and Facebook in particular....

  • Why MXit is Africa’s largest social network

    While South Africa's teachers were on strike in September, volunteers used the country's largest social network to help students prepare for exams. If you think they turned to Facebook, you would be wrong. They turned to the country's mobile instant messenging and social network service, MXit. MXit is primarily a Java-based mobile application giving users the functionality to exchange instant messages practically for free. Users are able to message in groups, called chat zones, functioning seamlessly across other platforms like MSN messenger and Google Talk. In the early stages of the application's development, it was a cheaper replacement for SMS...

  • Rumsfeld makes a comeback… now following you on Twitter

    Ex-US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld no longer rules the Pentagon but he has launched a new operation, this time online and via Twitter. A hate figure for opponents of the Iraq invasion and a hero to some neo-conservatives, Rumsfeld has started a Twitter account, promoting his foundation and upcoming memoir. Since his polarising stint as US defence secretary from 2001 to 2006, Rumsfeld has kept a low profile, and his book and online foray may represent a bid to repair his image. But unlike his lightening-fast invasion of Iraq, it seems Rumsfeld has had a slow start on Twitter. Two days after...

  • The secrets to success with Ubuntu OS

    Ubuntu is an impressive operating system and can be incredibly rewarding once you’re comfortable using it. People keep asking me for suggestions on how to get started with this OS so I’ve decided to write up my suggestions, which will hopefully ease a few more people towards adoption. The points below assume that the reader has at least an intermediate level of computing skill. If you’re not quite at that point yet, then it might not be worth the effort. Install the 64 bit version Unless you are installing Ubuntu Netbook Edition or your computer is more than five years old you...

  • Apple intros new tablet-inspired MacBooks

    Apple on Wednesday released a sleek new MacBook Air notebook computer inspired by its winning iPad tablet devices. "We asked ourselves what would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said as he unveiled two new laptop models. "This is the result." A MacBook Air with a 13.3-inch (33.8-centimeter) screen and measuring just 0.68 inches (1.73 cms) at its thickest point and its 11.6-inch (29.5-cm) "younger brother" went on sale Wednesday. They cost between US$999 dollars and US$1 599 dollars. The laptop computers dumped hard drives or optical drives in favor of solid state drives that...

  • Research finds Nokia still dominates mobile in Africa

    India has sent a clear message that it is watching Africa closely, especially after the impressive US$10.7-billion move by Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel to take over Zain Africa's mobile operations in 15 countries. Speaking recently at Kenya's technology centre, iHub, Ankit Rawal, head of African advertising for mobile advertiser inMobi, spent some time explaining why Africa is at the centre of mobile's global growth, backing it up with solid research . Ad Impressions From its July 2010 statistics, InMobi reveals that Africa has recorded over 2.8-billion mobile ad impressions, which is an 18.5% growth from just one month previously (June 2010). That’s an amazing...

  • Intel launches newsroom to tell own stories

    I've been writing a lot about how every company is a media company and Intel is one of those companies that understands this idea very well. Intel has put together an editorial team that seeks to use the best journalistic practices to publish high quality news, features and video. The team is separate from its newsroom but staffed by some of Intel's corporate communications team. This morning I spoke with Bill Calder and Ken Kaplan about the project (http://freepress.intel.com). Here are some notes from our conversation: With all the changes happening in media, journalists are having to cover a lot of beats and they...

  • Guess who’s back? Woolies relents on Christian magazines

    In a dramatic turnaround, food and clothing retailer Woolworths has decided that it will go back on its earlier decision to withdraw Christian magazines from its shelves, and will instead continue to offer all the titles that it had decided to drop. All day long the conversation has been going on, filling pages and pages of comments on the Facebook page, ranging from the thoughtful to the ridiculous. The conversation had clearly spilled out of the company's control and it decided to take action. In a short statement on Facebook, where most of the conversation has been taking place, the retail...

  • The Twitter founder who doesn’t tweet

    Last week I went to see Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone talk at an Inforum meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California. I didn't hear much that wasn't already known but there were a few gems. One was how little engaged Evan Williams seemed to be with Twitter Williams said he only Tweets about twice a day and prefers to use Twitter for consumption. I thought this was extraordinary because he is in charge of product development at Twitter. If you aren't a "power" user that's going to make it difficult to make the right decisions on product...