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The rules of engagement

The selection committee for the Amablogoblogo team is now in session. We are using the following rigorous three-stage procedure to choose the shapers and shakers of blogging, social media and Web 2.0 in South Africa:

1. Consulting animal entrails. It worked for the Romans, and science has not yet conclusively refuted its effectiveness.
2. In the absence of stomach remains of animals, we will go with a human back-up system, for which we scientists have developed the term “gut feel”.
3. In the absence of a strong enough gut feel, we will consult the gut feel of readers of this column. So feel free to make your recommendations, on the understanding that we will sometimes feel free to reject them.

Based on the above method, it would be easy to draw up a quick list of the 15 people whose names leap to mind. However, this is not the Amabokoboko or even Bafana Bafana, where the coaches tend to go with the obvious. Yes, the noisier of the early adopters may well be acknowledged in due course, but no, being noisy is not a criterion for being selected. Nor is being blonde.

This means that some of the selectees will not be well-known, well-heeled or well connected. And that means, in turn, that the choice will often be controversial. There may well be howls of protest at the first selectee.

Even now we have the world’s leading crypto-analytical counter-espionage specialists Googling his background, rummaging through his recycle bin, getting character witnesses from his Facebook friends, pondering the leadership qualities revealed by his Facebook Boozemail choices, and validating the qualifications claimed on his LinkedIn profile. If he makes it through this process, his name will be revealed next week.

In the meantime, this blog is also maintaining the league table it began to cover in the first instalment. The big news is that South African regional network passed the 200 000 mark of Facebook users on August 13. On the same day, Australia passed the 250 000 mark.

Here are the Facebook rankings for members of regional networks at the time of writing (around midday, August 21 2007):

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada

All of the above are in the millions.

4. Norway: 321 000
5. Australia: 274 000
6. South Africa: 216 000

As a reality check, we will also track the growth of the Mrs Weasley Appreciation Group on Facebook. Standing at 90 000 on August 2, it is now at 122 000, showing around 70% growth over the same period in which South Africa saw about 20% growth. So remember, if Harry Potter’s girlfriend’s mother is on course to be bigger than South Africa on Facebook, some humility is in order.

PS: Don’t forget to submit your nominations to the Amablogoblogo here or email me on [email protected].