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  • Will the official Twitter button mean the end for Tweetmeme?

    Breaking news out of Silicon Valley this morning is that Twitter will be launching its own Tweet button towards the end of this week. In what seems to be a direct threat to the core business of Tweetmeme, Twitter announced a simple line of code that could be added to any website which enables that site to carry an official embedded Tweet button. Internet news blog Mashable reports that details are still sketchy, but "from what we can tell, the Tweet Button is designed to be the most comprehensive counter of retweets and shares across Twitter’s network." In...

  • Interview: Clay Shirky on cognitive surplus and talents of a connected world

    How exactly did Clay Shirky, the best selling author of “Here Comes Everybody”, connect Lolcats and Ushahidi to come up with the concept of “Cognitive Surplus”? The epiphany came after Shirky got pissed off by a television producer who famously asked him “Where do people find the time?”. The off-handed question was elicited by Shirky’s explanation of Wikipedia and issues raised by collaborative crowdsourcing. "No one who works in TV gets to ask that question,” Shirky shouted at the producer, incensed that someone in television dare ask ‘where people get the time’. “You know where the time comes...

  • How to use Flickr to grow your brand – Part 2

    In last week’s article, I gave a background to using Flickr, Yahoo!'s photography-sharing site, as a place to increase exposure for your brand and business online. Once you’ve set up your Flickr profile and begun uploading photos to your account, you're ready to begin extracting real value from the site. The best way to do this is to add value to the Flickr community, rather than just seeing Flickr as a traffic driver to your blog or website.  Although this shift in thinking does take more time and effort, the resulting benefits are well worth it. Here are some ways...

  • Interview: PesaPal’s Agosta Liko on African mobile payment solutions

    Agosta Liko, CEO of PesaPal, relocated to Kenya from the US to start Verviant, a software development company in Nairobi. Three years later, the team at Verviant launched PesaPal with a vision of enabling Kenyans to make online payments. PesaPal is making great strides in bridging the mobile and electronic payment divide in Kenya, and is set to expand to more African countries next year. Mark Kaigwa sat down with the CEO to discuss his perspective on doing business in Kenya, the African condition, and on how PesaPal was able to gain traction with ordinary people. MK: How would...

  • Ridley Scott’s Life in a Day movie receives 80 000 submissions

    Editing has begun on over 4 600 hours of footage for Life in a Day, the crowdsourced documentary that is the brainchild of Executive Producer Ridley Scott. Life in a Day is a historic global film experiment that enlisted the global community to capture a moment of their lives on Saturday, July 24 and to upload that footage to www.youtube.com/lifeinaday. Individuals whose footage makes it into the finished film will be credited as co-directors and 20 of these contributors will be flown to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for the film’s world premiere. Submissions for YouTube’s Life in...

  • Cape Town Facebook page hits 100 000 fans after World Cup success

    I ♥ Cape Town, the official Facebook fan page of Cape Town Tourism, is celebrating a milestone after hitting the 100 000 fans mark in just one year. The page proved to be a powerful tool to convert visitors here for the World Cup into "Cape Town Fans" during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Almost half of the fan page’s new followers signed on in the last three months; the page grew by 40 000 fans between May and July 2010. It was up by an impressive 28 000 fans during the month-long tournament and it added...

  • Content sites, not social networks the hot ticket for reaching women: study

    When it comes to connecting and communicating with women an old-fashioned, bog-standard website may be a better bet than the in-vogue world of social networking. These are the surprising findings of a new US study by authoritative brand development and marketing insight consultancy Added Value in partnership with Yahoo!. The newly-released research, called Connectonomics, details women's needs and how they relate to the online channels they use on a daily basis. The findings are both interesting and surprising. The independent research appears to support Yahoo!'s business model -- one that exists predominantly in the online publishing space as opposed to...

  • What makes a Twitter user influential?

    I'm a big fan of Bernardo Huberman, director of HP Labs' Social Computing Lab, and the work of his team. HP has been applying rigorous scientific practices to the study of social media and it has a gold mine of research open to the public. It is worth emphasising that HP's studies are designed to the highest scientific standards; they are not isolated case studies or the musings of a "social media expert". They typically involve the study of very large numbers of people and thus they reveal some fundamental aspects of our increasingly online culture, and our common humanity. The...

  • How the social web saved a life during the Haiti earthquakes

    On the day the earthquake hit, well-known Haitian radio personality Carel Pedre was driving his car along the streets of the capital when the ground started shaking violently. Houses were tossed into the air and walls came tumbling down. As a trained journalist, Pedre’s intuitive reaction was to jump out of his car, take photos with his iPhone and try to post them on the web. He took six photographs of houses that had collapsed and streets that had been ripped apart but, because the earthquake had knocked out cellphone towers, he couldn’t post any of the pictures. Pedre, along with...

  • Kenya’s mobile money innovation boom

    Kenya is quickly gaining a competitive advantage in the mobile payments space. Led by mobile operator giant Safaricom with their Mpesa product, the market locally sees huge value in mobile money transactions. Add to that a regulatory system that is relaxed enough for innovation to be encouraged, and you have a great space for interesting things to happen. Pay.Zunguka The team at Symbiotic always have more than one iron in the fire. I was surprised by their most recent release of a new product called Pay.Zunguka recently. Simply put, it’s a payment gateway and aggregator, allowing merchants, developers and content providers a...

  • What WikiLeaks means for a government’s assault on media freedom

    What happens when a government moves to clamp down on media freedom? It might simply force journalists in that country to adopt the WikiLeaks model when it comes to publishing sensitive information.  Here's an example: The South African government recently announced a triple play to clamp down on media freedom in that country, a move which may force journalists to a model akin to WikiLeaks. Concern is mounting over the country's proposed apartheid-inspired Protection of Information Bill, which will give government sweeping powers to declare virtually any information "in the national interest" (and classify it), making it illegal for journalists...

  • Google Wave ends before it really began

    Google announced yesterday that it was suspending all further development on Google Wave, the web app for real time communication and collaboration that everyone had heard about but very few actually tried. While Wave debuted to wild acclaim a year ago, it failed to gain much traction amongst ordinary users, and was probably best known for people's inability to describe what it was actually for. The app will remain available for use until the end of the year, but will receive no further investment from Google. But far from lamenting the failure and coming up with numerous excuses, Google...

  • RIM takes on the iPhone with the new Blackberry Torch

    Research In Motion's (RIM) unveiled their latest creation, the Blackberry Torch 9800, to an expectant consumer market on Tuesday at a private launch event in New York City. Available exclusively on the AT&T network, RIM's new flagship device will compete head on with Apple's iPhone. The Torch combines touch-based features similar to the iPhone with a physical Blackberry keyboard and rounds it off with a few unique touches. The refreshed Blackberry OS 6 makes its first official appearance on a Blackberry device and, with a renewed focus on user interface design and social features, all the signs are there that...

  • Cell C is ‘astroturfing.’ What a joke!

    Astroturf is stuff that looks like grass but isn’t. Cell C has been astroturfing. In case you missed it, here's how it happened. Cell C staged a stunt. They uploaded a video onto YouTube of a Trevor Noah performance ripping all the mobile service providers to pieces. Then they wrote a letter of apology to him, which was published in the Sunday Times last weekend. This was followed by a press conference, where Cell C announced that it was all just a stunt and that actually Trevor Noah was their new customer experience officer. I suppose that it’s fitting, appointing...

  • Project war rooms: making the design process visible

    You’ve seen a war room in the movies – frowning generals sticking coloured pins onto a map. That stuff really happened, and for a good reason: when you’re invading another country, everyone has to know exactly what’s going on. Losing bits of important paper under your desk could cost lives. London's Churchill War Rooms , from where the British cabinet ran its WWII operations. A Flow project war room. Software projects are never quite that serious. But there are good reasons why you should have a war room for your project: Project stakeholders can see that something is happening. If it’s visible, people...