50000 Followers are not Friends but Thank you! | #50000friends

– Much has been written about the loose ties we have in social networks. The quick interactions that collect information rapidly in 140 bytes at a time before moving on. Due to the very nature of the Twitter platform, such speedy sharing of interests (and junk or spam, mind you) – as opposed to attentive listening and reading – dominates. Even so, I have had such fun with the @CapeTown Twitter account which I manage and which has now attracted 50000 followers at the end of May 2013. Loose connections but oh! interesting people.  Many Thank You’s! (Please visit later).

The reality is that we do make multiple connections, and touch lightly on the lives of those we follow. And we learn from each other via this giant “people’s google” called Twitter. Nevertheless, the true friends we have are the ones that bring over chicken soup when we have the flu, and put the smart phone away. And those rare souls may (or may not) tweet at all. So, as much as I celebrate the 50000 “friends” of @CapeTown today, I do so with tongue in the cheek – and with much gratitude for the blessing and responsibility it brings to curate for such diverse community.


Thank you for the fun that you cause in my timeline, dear followers. All the ‘Good Mornings’ and late night insomniacs entertaining each other. I was reminded by a follower today:

It made me smile, because it is so true! Mostly. Although I believe that some have reached beyond the name of the account to the holder of it. And we connected, loosely.

I promise not to get carried away by the number of followers, but to continue to seek and share good quality content between people. Maybe some of the ties we have that are so light and loose, may one day become a connection of doing business together, or of social engagement at an event or even, sharing soup in the Capetonian winter. Let’s not fall into the trap of false intimacy. We hardly know the people behind most screens. But some relationships could go to another level of deeper connectedness. Right? Who knows what the next round holds? And maybe I will say of some extraordinary people that I follow:

“These were the companions who justified my principles, who gave me the strength to continue against any foe, real or imagined. These were the companions who fought the helplessness, the rage, and frustration.
These were the friends who gave me my life.” 
 R.A. Salvatore

Ps: If you want, please consider supporting the Twitter service of my @CapeTown account in simple ways by:

leaving a note on our page to celebrate #50000friends, or share this post, give a giveaway for my followers – email me: iamnotmany (at) live.com – or better yet! by supporting my campaign to get a few premium Twitter tools. I would love to do more for followers. Thank you!

Come say Hello: bit.ly/capefriends

Keep smiling, and stay real with me…. I know what is mine and what is not. Do not despair my friends. We shall have soup this winter, either way.

I wish for you all the best and thank you for a vote of confidence that the @CapeTown account will deliver tweets worth following. And thank you, Twitter!

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The Law of Twitter – with Thanks to @LawLOLZ

I love WordPress and some time a bit of gold dust drifts across the screen when logged into one of my blogs. This video clip from the WordCamp Melbourne featuring Alex Farrar – who specialises in media and entertainment law, called ‘The Law of Twitter’ – is just such a bit of metaWisdom.

If you live in South Africa where we don’t often hold back on our opinions and if you are involved in social media in any way, shape or form (and outspoken like I am!) this is a must-watch:

I note that this talk was given in 2011 and there may very well be some changes, for instance the understanding of the legal professional in terms of Twitter.  Indeed, there has been more development in Twitter, and our understanding of  tweets as ”publication” online – with implications related to factual reporting.  Blue Magnet Digital Solutions writes on their site that our social media comments could have several legal implications. Agreed. Slowly, we (and lawyers for that matter) become aware of some important legal applications related to rights and responsibilities in the Twitterverse. One is this fact:

If you would not create a billboard and post your opinion about someone onto it in fear of possible defamation claims against you, then do not tweet it! It amounts to the same and could indeed get you in trouble. We all remain individually responsible for what we tweet.

There has been some early-adopters of social media and twitter, like @PaulJacobson of @WebTechLaw or @EmmaSadleir who appeared on Carte Blanche some time ago. It is encouraging to see how Twitter users are becoming more cautious about their tweets. Yes, we have free tweets (speech) but it does not give us an excuse to tarnish a character with 140 more – or to damage a brand’s reputation without being willing to back it up with facts and experience. As the legal profession in South Africa increasingly applies our laws to social media, the way to proceed for now is probably to Tweet with Tact.

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The Entertainer is in Cape Town – I am Smiling! #entertainerZA

  1. Early this year, the Dubai-based company launched at the V&A Waterfront and I endorse their concept 100% – and have since used the vouchers at several venues, finding it an absolute pleasure to see moneys deducted from my bill after being entertained in the city. The launch was a big hit!!
  2. Below is a video clip celebrating the South African launch of a book filled with more than R200 000 worth of vouchers, from restaurants, to hotels to rides… You should get the book as a gift to a friend!
  3. The news channels were quick to report on the highly successful initiative’s entry into the South African consumer market…
  4. And various bloggers have since reported on The Entertainer, sharing their own early experiences:
  5. It is really, really easy to use. Tear out the appropriate voucher from the THICK book and hand it over to the waiter/manager at the end of the evening – and voila! you will get a great discount, with a 2-for-1 deal….
  6. Such an awesome evening @atsandisher #servicestar #entertainerZA http://pic.twitter.com/lKkkZYU7
  7. And it is NOT only restaurants that feature in the book, as Emma King points out…
  8. RT @toothfairysa: Yay! Goıng on an Marıne Eco Tour tonıght wıth Ocean Adventurer @VandAWaterfront and savıng R180 thanks to @EntertainerZA!
  9. Join us in FACEBOOK – we already LIKE this company:
  10. Follow a few of the Cape Town committee members for The Entertainer in Twitter and ask us any thing…
  11. And then of course, I still have four books to GIVE AWAY 😉 so share this post and qualify for the next bit of #capeMahala….
  12. RT @CapeTown: get your BOOK of discounts for Cape Town > ow.ly/gRbxo RT & qualify for #capemahala giveaway 😉 #EntertainerZA
  13. Donna Benton, CEO of The Entertainer – and the South African team – thanks for supporting local business in Cape Town. I love the concept and how it plays out…
  14. CEO Donna Benton with Nancy Richards at the @SAfmRadio interview yesterday. http://pic.twitter.com/VMHA7u4w
  15. Enjoy The Entertainer, and find the book online – or at leading stores in Cape Town. You will spot it easily….
  16. Ps: Nicely done! GreaterThan PR…. Enjoying this #capePromo with you. Sure, the followers of @CapeTown will love it too.
  17. – Compiled by Dorette @iAmnotMany –

    Feburary 2013
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When Not to Tweet | Discretion Needed

Read an article in the Cape Times online a few minutes ago about the sad passing of a hiker in front of his children at Lion’s Head yesterday. The interviewed Samaritan who tried to assist the man who fell from a cliff was very critical of the tweeting onlookers. I asked followers @capetown what they think and some followers have replied with shared disgust, and believe that there are times that the phones need to be put aside – when human interaction and indeed, human life! is at stake:

The comments on FaceBook left no doubt that people find the behaviour totally unacceptable, with one Thokozani Dube calling most tweeters ‘a bunch of useless individuals’. I have covered the story via mimiCapeTown when I saw the first tweets about it, and I would like to also offer the perspective that some times tweets could also speed up or prompt action.

It remains important to use discretion when it may be more critical to help in person, rather than to call on, or report to, emergencies services. Obviously the gentleman (bless him!) who assisted the fallen hiker felt that he had too little support from the other ‘onlookers’ and this is indeed an indictment! (Unless one highlights the point that one should refrain from giving medical assistance without proper training, and just keep the injured person comfortable and render emotional support – which he was doing already).

Jon Gelberg writes an article about ‘When not to Tweet‘ for business. On a more personal level, I love some of the following Twitter etiquette tips from a blogger that is in the ‘know’:

  • Don’t tweet while you’re driving (equals to ‘don’t drink and drive’)
  • Don’t tweet while you’re having sex (a major turn off for your partner)
  • Don’t tweet while you’re in the bathroom
  • Don’t tweet when you’re spending some quality time with your family
  • Don’t tweet while you’re having a meal (unless you’re alone)
  • Don’t tweet during funeral or religious ceremonies
  • Don’t tweet during a business meeting

And let’s then add? Don’t tweet when you could Save someone’s life, or support someone who is busy saving someone’s life. Or is it as straight-forward as this? I also read a study: “Debating the Value of Tweets for Disaster Response” and I would like to venture again that there is a limited value of tweeting in any emergency – responsibly and appropriately. This relates to news and information (even verifying facts for emergency services), but not to any immediate, and direct assistance. In the case of the Thailand disaster tweets, it was found that almost 40% was ‘situational announcement’ and only 8% called for assistance.

Thailand Tweet Graphic

In the case of an emergency, there may not be a need for sharing information on the situation (unless it is to cause sensation or ‘be first to report it via ‘socal media’! which are both unacceptable). However, there is still value in sending a tweet out as an eye witness. Even more importantly, social media analyst John Hermann makes a key point about the value of Twitter in moments of crisis or disaster, which could apply to emergencies as well:

“Twitter is a fact-processing machine on a grand scale, propagating then destroying rumors at a neck-snapping pace,” Herrman wrote. “To dwell on the obnoxiousness of the noise is to miss the result: That we end up with more facts, sooner, with less ambiguity. Yes, Twitter is used to spread misinformation, and it’s also a powerful fact checking network. Any tool or network that can spread information will spread both good and bad information. This is because humans offer an abundance of both, especially during fast-moving breaking news events.

So, was it shameful of people to tweet when someone tragically lost their life at our beautiful Lion’s Head yesterday? Possibly. If no one cared to help at all, definitely. Our thoughts are with the hiker’s children and other family members and friends who lost his life. It is such a sad way to start the year.

But let’s not forget: Each context is different and nothing beats healthy judgement. Twitter remains a powerful tool to communicate. If we guard against sensationalism, we can use it to connect with our networks to express opinions, and yes – also shock. And maybe we should not be so harsh when people are human….

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