Archive for Web 2.0 from South Africa

On Blogging: A Word From the South Africans

by on April 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Winners of the South African blog contest have been unveiled across multiple categories. The “best blog across all categories” this year is 2 Oceans Vibe.

My buddy Nic, who was on the South African blogging expedition with us last December is listed as the first runner-up although they did win for best group blog. Matthew Buckland who also joined us for part of the tour is included in the runner-up list as well.

Interestingly enough, there have been a few debates raging since the ceremony on Friday night. including disappointment from one of the judges.

2oceansvibe won in 6 categories and although she was a judge, votes were weighted in favor of public votes. According to the rules, that means that ‘in the voting phase the vote weighting will be 30% judges and 70% public’ whereas in the nomination phase it is ‘50% judges 50% public.’

It sounds like she is disappointed with the voice of South Africans, in other words, where they spend their time and what they think about. She says, “I realise that there is a pretty large audience for tits, ass, cars, rugby and surfing, but the fact that this is the blog that we hold up to the world as our national pride and joy makes me want to hurl.”

She encourages the need to distinguish between popular voted blogs and then get the judges together to discuss their choice of winners that best reflects where South Africa is right now and where it is heading. Of course, that model is the old media model where two men decide which movie gets a two thumbs up or three book reviewers can influence whether a book makes it to the NY Times Bestseller List or not.

She talks about brand and the power of brand, in this case, something that stands for quality in the way that perhaps the Oscars do here. Her take: if the blog awards brand doesn’t have any meaning, any vision, any unique take on the world of blogging, then – ‘it becomes just another popularity contest.’

“The masses decide” is where its heading though – no more judges, very few editors (who can afford them now in the new Google economy where everything is expected for free), and less calling for experts, although we’ll return to experts soon enough as quality goes down. We now live in a Digg and Yelp society where hopefully over time, quality will rise to the top and the unauthentic voices and players will drop to the bottom.

The upside: more feedback and discovery than anytime in history. The downside: too much clutter and noise until the next genius brings out advanced filters that make that online discovery process even more efficient, more compelling and more fun.

Big Idea: How online publishers can rival Google

by on March 25, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Quite sometime ago I did a rather entrepreneurial proposal to the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) about a new, non-profit industry-focused search engine and advertising network to rival Google. I know what you’re thinking, apart from the general nuttiness of the idea itself: I must be crazy approaching a “newspaper” body? But the idea around […]

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Is SEO evil?

by on March 23, 2009 at 12:26 am

It’s an old debate, but always worth a good discussion: The Digital Edge podcast by Jarred Cinman and Saul Kropman is tackling the topic of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It’s a contentious topic, around which there is still discussion, and a bit of obfuscation.
The podcast sensationally interviews two “anonymous SEO practitioners” to see how they […]

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South African Blog Contest

by on March 22, 2009 at 11:46 am

South african contest The South African Blog Awards is live. Given that I’ve lived there a couple of times and just spent a chunk of time down there late last year into early 2009, I’m a fan of several of their blogs in countless categories and hey, South African bloggers voted for my blog in the PR Week blog contest last summer.

The SA Blog Awards is a showcase of the very best of South African blogs. The goal is to bring South African bloggers to the forefront of peoples attention, both locally and internationally, increasing exposure for South Africa’s great bloggers.

Voting is live and the winners will be announced on April 3rd, 2009. Check out Brand South Africa, SARocks and Matthew There’s also a great photo blog called Cape Town Daily Photo.

Categories are broad and include: The Best of the Best from South Africa, Best Entertainment Blog, Most Humorous, Best Post on a South African Blog (the one that stood out in 2008 was Moral Fibre), Blogs written by a South African in any foreign country (interesting one – South African Sea Monkey: what a great name), Best Original Writing on a South African Blog, Best Political Blog (there’s some provocative reading here), Best Photographic Blog, Best Food and Wine Blog, Music Months, Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgendered Blogs, Best Design Blog, Best South African Podcast, Best Group Blog, Best Business Blog, Best Technology Blog, Best Sports Blog, Best Blog covering Enviro-Friendly Content, Best African Language Blog (cool, eh?), Most Controversial Blog, Best Travel Blog, Best Personal Blog, and lastly, Best Parenting Blog for the trials and tribulations of dealing with “little people.”

Do some scanning, do some reading, so some digging, do some laughing, and by all means, do some voting.

TED Talk: How Twitter users shaped Twitter

by on March 6, 2009 at 7:24 am

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The internet in South Africa: A tale of woe and hope

by on March 5, 2009 at 1:38 am

The tale of doom and gloom about the uncompetitive South African telecoms market is all too familiar. It’s kept a stranglehold on internet growth in this country, meaning the country has performed way below its potential in this sphere in comparison to the rest of the world.
Arguably we are now moving in the right direction, […]

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The meaning of it all, in XML

by on March 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Here’s a relatively new web service for publishers and developers that’s a different spin on the semantic web. Amplify is mostly a semantic web service, although it tries to differentiate itself from other semantic services by saying it focuses on understanding content rather than classifying content — which is what the semantic web has been […]

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New launch: Book publishing 2.0

by on March 2, 2009 at 5:09 am

Wow, this looks interesting. A new social media platform called Crink or “Creative Ink” has just launched, enabling amateur, budding and experienced authors to publish, sell, buy and market their books online. It allows authors to create social networks, personalised online shops, groups and forums around their interest areas and books.
Customers can order books from […]

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Musings: The blogs revamp

by on February 25, 2009 at 3:14 am

Here are some designs and thoughts around the new look blog platform. The designs are by Philip Langley, with Alistair Fairweather in the driving seat.

Our musings:
1. Less, more individual blogger. More blog-like 🙂
2. More viral, using contact and social network mining. Help bloggers build audience.
3. Rigid templates for best practice, yet open to […]

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SA political party launches impressive, Obama-esque campaign site

by on February 20, 2009 at 1:53 am

The Democratic Alliance (DA), a local opposition party, has impressed with their new online strategy. Clearly inspired by Barack Obama’s web innovation, the political party has launched two websites, although only just squeaking in two months before national elections kick off. The sites are: a social media-type campaigning site, “Contribute to change“, (built on BuddyPress […]

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