This morning we had our last session with the reconstructed team and we explored the use of Skype and Fring as a means of reconstructing lives. The technology is only the facilitator in this process and many of the team realised that having access to Skype allows them the opportunity to connect with many others accross the globe
I had a very exciting trip to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape to establish a network with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for using technology for community empowerment. In collaboration with NMMU we hope to expand the DAS system in to Eastern Cape. Will keep you updated on its progress.
I was also invited as a speaker by host Ramon Thomas from Netucation at the 27Dinner in Port Elizabeth which was held at the Algoa Yacht Club and had the privilege of meeting many interesting people. It is good to see the interest in Social Media in the Eastern Cape and I believe it wont be long when we'll see an increase in the use of social media in various parts of the Eastern Cape from the most affluent to rural.
Saturday morning we had an interesting session at CPUT with Rafiq and Gerhard who shared the essence of micro-blogging with the Reconstructed team. Rafiq stated that the following should be considered when using Micro-blogging tools such as twitter: Focus, Consistence, Looking Outward, Look within and Conversation. His slide show is available here. After exposing the team to various twitter tools such as feedalizr it was clear that with a new outlook on how to use Micro-Blogging that the Reconstructed team will begin using this social media medium to reach out and share with as many as possible.
Today we had another interesting session with the ladies from the Mom2.0 project. The women are beginning to explore with social networking and especially doing well with the mobile phones. Seems as if many of them are very open to explore how they can use social media to help others.
Today we had another successful session with DAS using MXit. In our two hour session we managed to get more than 1400 messages. The good news is that we are moving in the right direction with the development of the system as it seems to be more stable in recent sessions. We definitely excited of the prospects of what lies ahead with this project.
More interesting stats on this is that since our inception of DAS on MXit we've had over 8000 conversations and more than 20 000 messages. This is really indicating that what we're doing is needed in our communities. Special thanks to all the men and women who works endlessly on this system ensuring that many people accross our nation are being assisted.
The past week we've seen an increased use by our reconstructed team using twitter. In one week we've seen between the group almost 3000 tweets!!! Not only have they caught on the micro-blogging phenomenon but also had the privilege of sitting in a session last Saturday on FriendFeed presented by Johan Horak. The session was how Friendfeed can be used and integrated to enhance what is already done by the Reconstructed Team. Definitely exciting opportunities lying ahead for us.
With the increased concerns from parents around their children using .MXit and going into chatrooms. The initiative by MXit to disable public chat rooms has been welcomed by the public including Child Line. According to Herman Heunis, CEO, of MXit "The merits of this have been under discussion for a very long time and we fee the time is ripe to test the water. More and more young children are being banned from MXit by their parents but unfortunately this doesn't prevent them from signing on to other Internet chat services all over the world, where they may not have the same protection as MXit provides". The parents should still be responsible and making themselves aware of this technology. If banning the technology will solve the problem, I don't know. It will leave a gap for another to take its place that might not have the same controls. We've seen over the past few months how many have been reached through MXit which has become many people's lifeline accross our nation. To date we've reached over 13 000 messages an indication that this technology has its role to play in our digital society. Read the official press release here
Seeing the advancement of micro-blogging and the expansive use of twitter it is no surprise that we see more twitter tools being developed supporting this phenomenon. Is it possible that people would be interested in what you're actually doing? At first this might sound insane but when you begin the journey of posting your first tweet, it is as if new doors open to express yourself, to stay in touch and to just listen what others are saying.
What struck me is that not only is Twitter used for social marketing, informing clients, social conversations but quite possible we could see the emergence of the Tweetrepreneur (Twitter Entrepreneur). Where this could lead to is yet to be seen as we explore possibilities of how this media could change the lives of people.
Why don't you try twitter for yourself and follow me
This morning I had the privilege to be interviewed on Radio CCFM 107.5. The presenter, Lynn Baker, had DAS@MXit as the topic of discussion. The interview went well as the Reconstructed Project received more publicity and support from the public.
Today the ladies all gathered at the Impact Centre to engage with an exciting Mom 2.0cafe session. After only four sessions the women have now managed to be able to send emails, blog (www.mom2zero.com) and FaceBook. What an amazing achievement by women who just over a month ago had no experience with technology.
Many of them are now also to use their mobile phones to send emails, do social networking and blog. It is really exciting to see how they've developed and we know that this is only the beginning.
This has been an exciting week as not only are we seeing a growing interest by the public around technology for social change but also did a few visits in Gauteng to investigate possible expansion of the DAS@MXit initiative. With already +- 4000 subscribers, more than 10 000 messages and almost 4000 conversations the DAS@MXit project is moving along nicely. Developing of the DAS@MXit system by UWC is also moving along nicely and hope to have the system stabilised within the next few weeks.
I've had the privilege of being one of the judges for this year's SA E-Commerce awards and it was great to see how many companies are expanding on the functionallities of their sites to improve the virtual shopping experience. The winners can be viewed here
After an immensely successful round of voting, in which over 10,000 votes were cast, Jump shopping is proud to announce the winners of the 2008 South African E-Commerce Awards!
This year’s awards carried the same format as the previous years’ by first giving the public the opportunity to nominate their favourite South African Online stores in 20 different categories. Once a list of nominees had been published the public and a panel of Judges were given the opportunity to cast their votes.
The votes were split 49% from the public and 51% from the judges. This year’s judges were Albert Bredenhann, Andy Hadfield, Arthur Goldstuck, Charl Norman, Damaria Senne, Ferdie Bester, Henk Kleynhans, Ismail Dhorat and Marlon Parker.
Whenever I see Brent and his mom together I'm over the moon with joy knowing that Brent is making such an impact in many people's lives. The pic you are seeing in this post is the now but it was'nt always like this. Two years ago Brent and his mom had a very different relationship where he was disempowering his mom even to a point where he would almost have physically hurt her. But seeing him now and his willingness to help others is an incredible story of how lives are reconstructed. Using technology he can now empower his mom but they can also share their stories of hope to many parents and children out there who need that glimmer of hope.
Well done Brent and Aunt Allida Williams, we are proud of what you are doing.
Today was a much better day as we getting somewhere with our network problem with the DAS@MXit system. It seems that our bandwidth was a problem and we're now trying to get a 2gig network line. Hopefully all will be better. At least I managed to do some counselling with people online this evening.
The highlight of the day was an excellent article by Murray La Vita from Die Burger. It was a more personal look at my background but he did such an incredible job capturing everything in that short interview. You can read his column here
We also had an interview on radio pulpit this afternoon that went very well. It seems asif more people are realising that technology as an enabler can play a huge role in the lives of people.
Today was the day that I was hoping would not emerge as our resources ran to the bone. With thousands of requests coming through our DAS@MXit system crashed and we were unable to respond to any of our users. For most of the ladies and guys who were ready to support the thousands of people across SA it was a huge disappointment as the technology was not up to the task. The lesson for many of us today was the importance of infrastructure but also support is needed when setting up an advice and support lab. We're now rapidly moving into the second phase of this project where the systems that are being developed is of utmost importance. So it is back to the drawing board for now as we continue on this journey of reconstructing lives using technology.
Today we had another successful day with the DAS@MXit service. Although our system is still slow that we're developing with the help of a development from UWC we are definitely moving in the right direction. We are now moving rapidly towards 4000 contacts and that are being serviced. Although the volunteers and all involved are doing a great job we are yet to get any funding for this project from corporate of government. The limited resources is a factor but nothing compared to the hearts of the people involved.
We also appeared in "The Son" newspaper today giving updates to the communities about the project and allowing people to join the service. Although the journey we are travelling on is long it is exciting to many of us as we're seeing lives being reconstructed.