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  • SecondLife, another graphic World Wide Web?

    At the beginning of this year I blogged about the amazing work that Adam Pasick was doing with Reuters in Second Life, the virtual 3D world. Now, here in Dublin at the IFRA conference, we were presented with another fascinating story of media doing business in SecondLife. Rowan Barnett, Editor-in-Chief of Avastar, a virtual newspaper in SecondLife, is one of the people behind this successful virtual newspaper which aims to "give the residents of Second Life a voice". If you think about it, virtual worlds like SecondLife are becoming graphic alternatives to the world wide web and here may lie the...

  • Social Networking is Online Publishing 2.0

    I've recently changed my mind about some of the smaller niche, trade, business-to-business websites that are on the online scene. These are often trade publications that cater for specific industries. I've realised that, if approached correctly, this type of publishing is perfectly poised to be more than just traditional content publishing, but powerful social and business networking too. Suddenly, what previously seemed like a boring, bog-standard publishing site, comes alive as a potential social or business network. As a budding online entrepreneur seeking to get into the social networking game, it probably wouldn't be wise to create something that competes...

  • German blogosphere waning, bloggers quitting, says Ifra blog

    I'll be heading off to Dublin, Ireland around the beginning of November to speak at IFRA's Beyond the Printed Word, the world's leading association for newspaper and media publishing. I'll be speaking about "Integration of Web 2.0 services into news sites", sharing our experiences with Thoughtleader, Newsinphotos and Amatomu.com. I've just noticed that IFRA have started an official blog for the conference, with a few interesting blog posts -- the latest being that there is a "Crisis in the German blogosphere". Writing on the blog, Gordon Steiger notes: Looking at the decreasing click rates at Technorati, fewer visitors, less links and...

  • 24.com launches Laaik.it

    Breaking news on the local social media scene: 24.com, the internet arm of Media24, has launched its new social news and bookmarking site, Laaik.it. The news appears to be first broken by local blogger Charl Norman on his Bandwidth blog. I was alerted to it by Justin Hartman on Facebook. We've known for a while, via our spies, that it was coming -- but didn't know much about the name or the execution. My first, initial impression? I haven't tried the functionality, but the look and feel is nice and simple. I like the green, the logo and the clean...

  • Will Facebook eventually replace the Windows & Mac desktop?

    Had the privilege to meet up with Saul Klein, E-commerce VP at Skype and founder of the Open Coffee club, who was in the country yesterday. While chatting to him about the local online scene together with my colleague, Vincent Maher, we got talking about Facebook and other niche social networks. We articulated a thought that I've been mulling over for a while now -- and that is: Facebook is increasingly resembling an Operating System (OS) -- albeit a virtual, online OS -- much like that of Apple Mac or Microsoft Windows. For example -- you can install apps on...

  • Digg's new Arc is serious eye candy

    Just noticed this latest widget from Digg, called the Arc. It's a graphic representation, like their swarm, stack and BigSpy, of who is selecting what stories on Digg. Stories arrange themselves around a circle as users digg them. Stories with more diggs make thicker arcs. They also offer the Arc as a screensaver (clever). These kind of graphic representations can be put to good use by sites that have big volumes of traffic and content -- and, if done correctly, can add value and be another way of surfing a site. Plan to do some of these for...

  • The converging media company

    Who would have thought newspapers and magazines would start producing their own radio and TV programmes? Who would have thought radio stations would become active online publishers, running popular blogs? Who would have thought the readers, viewers and listeners would rise up and start producing their own media? The world is like this because we are in an era of convergence, which is been driven by the digital age. Convergence isn’t a “tech thing”, but a revolution that has fundamental implications for media and society. The result is that technology is become increasingly accessible, flattening established hierarchies. For a big media...

  • Recording executives set to be the Dodos of the modern era

    Read this scathing piece by Wired's Tony Long on the recent activities of the now-notorious Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). They recently embarked on a crusade to sue 26,000 people who are downloading MP3s over the internet to "send a message". It appears to be a desperate attempt to keep the last vestiges of their big cash cow going. Eventually, they will lose. The internet has changed the model of the music industry, as well as the media industry. But it appears the RIAA will fight to the bitter end... Says Long in Wired: So when their first victim,...

  • Facebook: A collision of private & professional

    I promised myself I wouldn’t write about Facebook. Everyone’s writing and talking about it. And I just hate being part of a mob. However part of a mob I am, as I am a Facebook user. And I need help. I must admit I love it and I love burning my company’s bandwidth while using it. I am addicted to the thing and I’m going to need to see someone about it. But I am not alone: South Africa just happens to be one of the biggest countries on the hit social networking site at the moment. I suppose this is...

  • 10 Future Web Trends to watch

    It's a web 2.0 world these days. I never thought I'd use the term so frequently and freely, but it does encapsulate a new culture and way of doing things on the web. Read/Write Web -- now my favourite website -- has an excellent analysis of what it considers to be the Top 10 Web Trends of the future. Here is the list: 1. Semantic Web 2. Artificial Intelligence 3. Virtual Worlds 4. Mobile 5. Attention Economy 6. Web Sites as Web Services 7. Online Video / Internet TV 8. Rich Internet Apps 9. International Web 10. Personalizationvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Convergence heralds the age of the reader

    This was the presentation that never was at Highway Africa. My session got turned into a panel discussion because it was to be broadcast on SABC. So here it is: The digital age is driving the convergence of devices and media. Convergence isn't just a techie thing, but a fundamental change in the way we (1) create, (2) distribute and (3) consume media. At the M&G Online we have been more active in exploring the third form of convergence: READER POWER. Essentially "readers" are being elevated from newspaper letters pages to micro-publishers. Bloggers are mini-media owners, even earning online ad revenue....

  • Business of online media and blogosphere

    At the Digital Citizen's Indaba, I presented on the business issues of online media and the blogosphere, from my own experiences as a blogger and working as a media professional at the M&G Online. Banner ads in online media are still relatively unsophisticated. The problem is that most online advertising models on media still resemble traditional media advertising models. For example, the advertising model in newspapers has merely been transplanted to the web, without really adapting the model to suit the web environment. So it's no wonder that a "successful" clickthrough rate on a campaign is around 0.3%. In fact, most...

  • First picture of local blogosphere emerges

    The country's leading internet analyst, Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx, has published some interesting statistics on the local blogosphere. If you haven't seen it already, he published this on his Thought Leader blog. He collated the data from a variety of blog aggregators and blog hosting platforms, including 24.com, Mweb, Amagama, and iblog. Arthur also looked at the two blog aggregators Amatomu and Afrigator to get an indication of local bloggers on independent blogs or who are part of overseas blog platforms such as Blogger.com and Wordpress.com Here are some of his conclusions: Number of blogs at end of August:...

  • Facebook, the Web 2.0 killer

    Also on Thought Leader The existence of Facebook, the smash-hit social-networking site, may unwittingly kill off a host of other Web 2.0 start-ups. This is mainly because of Facebook's inclusive and all-encompassing nature. The site appears to be blogging (lite), Twittering (short blogging), multiplayer gaming (simple games), dating, social networking, online photo management and even emailing all in one. In fact thanks to its open application system, Facebook can be almost anything you want it to be. This Wired piece describes how Facebook has effectively killed off the once-pioneering Friendster.com, with the gloomy headline: "Friendster CEO confesses his company has...

  • Google have stars in their eyes

    So Google is not satisfied with world domination, but wants to rule the universe too. Hey, even space shuttles need search engines. Ok, at a stretch. So it transpires that the new version of Google Earth now comes with sky imagery or a “virtual telescope”, as Google calls it. As the official Google Earth blog says: Today, I'm excited to announce we are launching Sky in Google Earth. You can now explore the universe from the comfort of your chair. Zoom in to distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away, explore the constellations, see the planets in motion, witness...