This blog post was updated for some corrections in June 2012.
Mandy de Waal, a freelance journalist, wrote this article on ITWeb, profiling top social media gurus in South Africa. When I first read it, I found offensive not because it’s inaccurate, rather because it is incomplete. The main reason I take issue with this is because it’s an example of lazy journalism. She interviewed eleven people, all white, asking them about their Web 2.0 dream team is. Maybe she did not have a non-white person on speed dial. Yet she could still have made her point without having to call them the white boys club.
Ramon Thomas “dream team” of black Social Media experts:
Vinny Lingham: This is the one person I assumed Mandy de Waal would interviewed for her piece. Maybe she skipped him because he moved to San Francisco Bay Area for a period of time. I’m not sure where he was based at the time the initial column. Vinny is a master at raising start-up capital for his Internet business ventures. Beside his SEO background I believe his experience naturally leads him to role of business development. Persuading other people to invest their cash into your business is a crucial factor to business growth.
Khaya Dlanga: A video blogger on Youtube has over 10,000 subscribers on his Youtube channel. I first met him at the annual Digital Citizen Indaba, a blogging conference, at Rhodes University last year. In his day job he works for an advertising agency, according to his LinkedIn profile, the Jupiter Drawing Room, one of the top agencies in South Africa. Another feather in his cap is that Khaya is one of the contributors to the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader group blog. What I would like from Khaya is to produce a weekly video blog for myself and in turn I would like to help commercialise his videos. There is a great potential to create a DVDs (like the Ask a Ninja DVD) based on his videos and sell this online, direct to home or to video rental chains in South Africa. His outstanding quality is his sharp sense of humour and wit.
Rafiq Phillips: Cape Town based SEO expert, hardcore technology blogger and Internet evangelist blogs at WebAddict. He is the co-creator of iDrive a portal for finding driving schools in South Africa. Both of us represented South Africa as bloggers at the TEDGlobal Conference in Tanzania last year. The iDrive platform was accessible on MXit until recently. The innovation from him has led to him being featured on a Carte Blanche segment in March 2008. Rafiq would be the obvious person to run search engine campaigns and also act as the lead blogger to drive traffic and attention.
Charles Ash: The founder of the Bruin-ou.com community portal for multiracial or mixed race people. Charles has a technical background in the IT industry and started this community website while living in Cape Town a few years ago. Its been a labour of love for him and I was once more directly involved. He has built a 10,000 strong user community and a website that generates over 3.5 million page views per month with zero funding or institutional support. Since he started his own hosting company, Charles would be my choice to run the technical back-end from hosting to system administration.
Nur Ahmad Furlong: A web strategist and graphic designer also based in Cape Town. He blogs at Nomad-One and also at TechLeader. From what I can tell he is a fantastic designer but what really strikes me as unique is his ethically motivated approach to business. The fact that he has been spearheaded the launch of WordPress meetings in Cape Town is a testament to his passion for getting the good word about the WordPress open source blogging platform out and bringing together the growing community of enthusiasts in South Africa. I look forward to having him redo some professional blog designs for me in the near future and maybe some other branding work that requires a sharp eye for detail.
Yusuf Mahomedy: Author, work radical and blogger at Worksucks and Work911 on The Times. His professional track record is impeccable as a Tax Consultant at Ernst & Young and Senior Manager in HR at MTN Group. What impresses me about him the most is his output: he has published 2 books (Worksucks & Smart Reward Strategies) and contributes to trade journals like HR Future. Since 2007 we have delivered several seminars together and most recently this Internet Cafe workshop. What I would like from him is help in self-publishing my own book, and also putting all the business processes in place, especially those who focus on human resources as I continue grow my business and move from casual to full-time employment of people.
Mario Olckers: A multi skilled web developer, blogger, copywriter, graphic designer at Hogsback Media Networks. Mario was first introduced to me by Charles Ash, and even though we have not yet collaborated we have had numerous conversations. His skills in copywriting are what I need the most. You can also follow him on Twitter since I deleted my account.
Consider some statistics from TechLeader group blog in terms of contributors by race:
What about me, Ramon Thomas? Interested in my contributions to Web 2.0 or Social Media in South Africa. Read or listen to the following interviews:
Sometimes I wonder will South African media ever, ever be more representative. When white people own most of the media companies, produce most of the radio or television content, publish (edit) most of the newspapers, magazines or websites, what do you expect?