30 June 2012

SOCIAL MEDIA HELP FIGHT CRIME IN SOUTH AFRICA

Social media is an integral part of the lives of many South Africans. Initially, many were concerned that social media could be used by perpetrators to get personal information about their potential victims. People still need to be vigilant in who they accept as friends, with what they post on their accounts, and their privacy settings. Although there have been a number of such cases in South Africa, often because the victim did not use adequate privacy settings, anti-crime South Africans have found a way to use social media to their advantage. Social media can be effective if the community and the security services work together. Twitter and Facebook are often trending with the details of a crime, especially hijackings. Twitter, especially, is very useful in getting important information out to the public as quickly as possible.

Earlier this week, a radio DJ's wife was shot in an attempted hijacking on Far East Bank Drive near the Gautrain's Marlboro station. When he received her call for help, he contacted the well-known tweeter Pigspotter who mobilised his contacts in the emergency services. The young woman is recovering in ICU after undergoing operations.

Also this week, a robbery suspect was arrested in Laudium, outside Pretoria, minutes after the anonymous SMS tip-off service, Crime Line posted three photographs of the wanted 36-year-old man on Facebook and Twitter. Within 15 minutes of posting the photos, Crime Line received a message on Facebook of the man's whereabouts. The suspect allegedly sneaked into a wedding reception at the local community centre, and stole a firearm and a phone which he took from a guest's handbag. The suspect has confessed to the crime. He sold the firearm for R550 and the phone for R700.

A Bryanston family, recently robbed at gunpoint in their home, managed to find the location of their stolen phone using the Apple app, Find My iPhone/iPad. This led to the arrest of the criminals. Just hours after the robbers made their getaway, the Police found them at a house in Tembisa after the family activated app. The police say the men have been linked to several other robberies in Douglasdale, Randburg and Bryanston. The app is used as a real-time GPS location-tracking device and users can watch on an iPhone or iPad as the location is pinpointed on a map. The person holding the device doesn't know they are being tracked.

In Cape Town, another iPad user took an hour to get his iPad back after it was stolen in a smash-and-grab on Nelson Mandela Boulevard. The man had stopped his car to answer his phone, when two youths robbed him. He phoned a friend, who accessed his internet account and tracked the iPad to a nearby flat. The iPad was retrieved, but the thieves were scared off by messages blaring from the device.

29 June 2012

SMALL BUSINESS AND SOCIAL MEDIA - ARE YOU THERE?

Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google Plus, LinkedIn... social media is here to stay. Is your small business on-line? How can you use social media to grow your business?

Social media is one of the most effective marketing channels available to any business. It allows you to respond quickly to your customers, get direct feedback from them, and build customer relationships. A customer can make a positive comment about your business. That comment is seen by that customer's social media base. As a small business owner you reach a larger portion of your target market who are likely to spend time on social sites. Social media sites are perfect to interact with your customers.

How can a small business get started on social media? Like anything in business, jumping in without a plan will see social media taking up your valuable time. A Web Site Designer and a Social Media Manager can go a long way in making your on-line presence a success. The foundation is a business Web site or blog, which will be used as a central hub. Next, you need to create your social media accounts - Facebook and Twitter are the largest social media sites. Follow key people or other businesses in your field. Engage with them by commenting on their postings, asking questions or sharing their postings. Watch how they use their social media. Link your social media accounts to your Web site or blog.

The most difficult part for small business owners, who are often solo entrepreneurs, is keeping their social media active, current and fresh. Search engines provide their users with fresh and relevant content. To get noticed on-line you need to update regularly. A lack of fresh content doesn't leave a good impression with a potential customer. Business social media success doesn't happen overnight. You need to keep in touch with your base and adding quality content. If you are posting a number of messages and getting no response, consider whether the message is relevant to your target market. If a potential or existing customer takes the time to mention you or ask you a question on social media, you need to take the time to answer them. Social media is not about bragging about your latest product or service. It is about developing a community of people who are interested in what you have to say because it is entertaining, educational or enlightening. Respond to questions, offer ideas and advice, and take part in discussions. Social media is word of mouth advertising in the digital era.
As a Social Media Manager, my tasks can include:
  • Setting up Facebook pages
  • Researching relevant content
  • Writing and posting content (e.g. tweets, blogs, Facebook posts, LinkedIn profiles)
  • Edit / proofread content provided by clients
  • Monitoring comments, questions and complaints
  • Adding and monitoring user competitions

    22 June 2012

    A BETTER FILE SEARCHER

    Finding a lost file on your hard drive can take ages. Have you ever needed to find a file buried somewhere in your computer, or needed to find a specific string of text inside a file? FileSeek can do that - lightning fast. It is a small programme and easy to use. It doesn’t use background indexing, so when FileSeek is closed your computer’s performance won’t be affected. FileSeek is a turbo-charged search programme. You can search with specific keywords, formats and case sensitivity. FileSeek doesn't just look for file names, it also searches through the content of the files.

    TRACK YOUR STOLEN LAPTOP

    If your laptop is stolen or lost, you can use the free Prey programme to track your laptop. As soon as the thief turns on the laptop, Prey will try to broadcast its location, even if it isn't connected to the Internet it will try to find the nearest open hotspot. All you need to do is send the laptop a message from your phone or another computer. Prey also lets you take screenshots to see what's happening on the screen. You can hide personal information remotely, and activate the Webcam to take a photo of the thief.

    REPAIR AN INFECTED COMPUTER

    Sometimes, no matter what anti-virus programme you use, your computer might still pick up an infection. You can sometimes sort this out yourself by using the free AVG Rescue CD. It contains various anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. You can burn it to a CD or install it on a thumb drive. You can then boot your computer from your CD or thumb drive. The tools can be used to recover your system, clean the mess and get back to Windows.

    02 June 2012

    LANGUAGE ERRORS ON WEB SITES

    Nothing looks more off-putting and unprofessional than spelling mistakes on a Web site, especially when it is a business site. On-line chatting and texting has lowered the standards for grammar and spelling. A UK-based Web site entrepreneur and Director of the Just Say Please group, Charles Duncombe, told the BBC News that "an analysis of Web site figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut on-line sales in half." He measured the revenue per visitor to the Web site tightsplease.co.uk and found that revenue doubled after errors were corrected. Spelling is important to the credibility of a Web site. A business with errors on its Web site does not inspire trust in consumers. You can't rely on your spell-checker either - use a human Editor.

    The most common errors include:

    It’s or Its
    It’s is a contraction for "it is" while its is possessive.

    Than or Then
    Than is a preposition that compares things while then is an adverb that indicates a time.

    Effect or Affect
    Effect is a noun and affect is a verb. Effect can also be a verb when used with an object.
    If the word is preceded by "an" or "the" then it’s a noun and should be "effect".

    They’re, Their, or There
    They’re is a contraction of "they are".
    Their is a posessive.
    There is a location.

    Lose or Loose
    To lose means to misplace something, while loose means not tight.

    i.e. or e.g.
    These are abbreviations for "illud est" and "exempli gratia", which is Latin for "that is to say" and "for the sake of example" respectively.
    Use i.e. when you’re trying to expand on a phrase.
    Use e.g. when you are giving a specific example of a class of things.

    You're or Your
    You’re is a contraction of "you are" and your is a posessive.

    Accept or Except
    Accept is a verb that means to receive something willingly.
    Except is a verb that means to exclude something or leave something out.

    Capitalisation
    1. Use a capital letter for the personal pronoun I.
    2. Use a capital letter to begin a sentence or to begin speech.
    3. Use capital letters for many abbreviations and acronyms.
    4. Use a capital letter for days of the week, months of the year, holidays.
    5. Use a capital letter for countries, languages, nationalities, religions.
    6. Use a capital letter for people's names and titles.
    7. Use a capital letter for trade-marks and names of companies and other organisations.
    8. Use a capital letter for places and monuments.
    9. Use a capital letter for names ships, aircraft, trains and spacecraft.
    10. Use a capital letter for titles of books, poems, songs, plays, films.