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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].


  • Arthur Goldstuck is a South African journalist, media analyst and commentator on information and communications technology (ICT), internet and mobile communications and technologies. Goldstuck heads the World Wide Worx research organisation, and has led research into ICT issues such as the effects of IT on small business, the role of mobile technologies in business and government, and the technology challenges of the financial services sector. He regularly provides strategic insights and guidance on trends at conferences and corporate events across Africa.


  1. Vincent Maher Vincent Maher 22 August 2007

    I nominate Justin Hartman, Mike Stopforth and Dave Duarte

  2. Max Kaizen Max Kaizen 23 August 2007

    I nominate Mr Mayhem Maher and the recently birthdayed Buckland while we’re at it.. and Nic Haralambous for their metablogger initiatives

  3. Nic Nic 23 August 2007

    I third those nominations, even though im a bit confuzzled about what I am nominating them for!! And I think they might be confused too.

  4. Jarred Cinman Jarred Cinman 23 August 2007

    I nominate some different names than the usual suspects. Another Maher, Stopforth, Buckland tribunal we need like a hole in the head :-P

  5. Art2 Art2 23 August 2007

    Good point, Nic, I will do a more straightforward overview of the Amablogoblogo concept shortly. Meanwhile, have a look at the bottom part of the first blog in this series (at
    Meanwhile, you’ve been nominated for the mystery role, so please standby for extensive invasion of your privacy while we do background checks, foreground checks, and blank cheques. Max, the birthday boy and Mr Mayhem were disqualified in the first round.

  6. Art2 Art2 23 August 2007

    Hey Jarred, so nominate some names, or name some nominations. But I fully agree with your point: we don’t want to see only the usual suspects. On the other hand, they are the usual suspects precisely because they are usually the ones getting Web 2.0 things done.

    An early selection principle for the Amablogoblogo is that we will give preference to deserving nominees out of left field. Since bloggers don’t have an attention span (I speak from personal experience), I don’t expect them to think laterally, even while they are doing six impossible things before breakfast every day (with apologies to the Red Queen).

  7. Max Kaizen Max Kaizen 23 August 2007

    LOLs! I secretly knew that but had to swing the fine fellows a bit of love for their part in evolving our ever-burgeoning blogosphere ;-)
    I think that most of the bloggers at the growing tip have all become so busy that they have very little time to blog : the second wave of blog.stars is due.

  8. Jarred Cinman Jarred Cinman 23 August 2007

    Oh my god, so I have to backup my acerbic bit of blog commentary with actual ideas? Sheesh, that’s a bit harsh.

    I guess I’d like to see some mainstream writers and journalists on board if I have to try and get serious. Someone who can provide a view on the quality of the content, not purely it’s blogginess.

    Not that Vincent and the like aren’t good writers and journalists, but frankly they’re more bloggers than anything else these days. I’d like to get more of an outside view.

  9. Vincent Maher Vincent Maher 23 August 2007

    Max surely you’re not going to recant so quickly?

  10. Max Kaizen Max Kaizen 23 August 2007

    mmm… are you daring me to flout the judge’s ruling Vince?

  11. Art2 Art2 23 August 2007

    Vince, Vince, Vince, she’s a blogger. By definition she suffers from HC-ADD (Hardcore Attention Deficit Disorder). She’s already forgotten what it was she is recanting.

  12. Vincent Maher Vincent Maher 23 August 2007

    Yeah you’re right. In fact she forgot to check back if anyone replied to her LOL

  13. Max Kaizen Max Kaizen 23 August 2007

    GOOD HEAVENS you two !! in fact I’m a shocking blogger because I have a life :-P and barely get a post out a week (there is some bizarre mystery at the heart of why I’m at 14th spot on the local Technorati rankings, because it is wholly undeserved). I would LOVE to loll about the blogosphere all day ..beastly boys.

  14. Vincent Maher Vincent Maher 23 August 2007

    Beastly shmeastly… does anyone actually what Arthur is up to on this thing? He’s being quite cryptic.

  15. Art2 Art2 23 August 2007

    Ummmmm…. no.

    However, the rumour doing the rounds is that the Amablogoblogo concept of naming an A team of Web 2.0 shapers and shakers is in fact a CIA plot to flush out the troublemakers. Our official position on this baseless allegation is a firm “No comment”. Really, the CIA is a very misunderstood organisation, and we shouldn’t assume the worst: just because they invented Facebook doesn’t make Facebook evil. It has many, many, very productive uses which we will think of very soon. And just because, hypothetically, they MIGHT secretly screen the Amablogoblogo members (and we’re not admitting anything here), doesn’t make the Amablogoblogo team evil. Those who are selected for the Amablogoblogo are evil for another reason. They spend their days and nights and the virtual time they manufacture in between day and night (through clever manipulation of code) to come up with new ways of keeping other people from their day jobs.
    This is another way of saying that, just because you have a successful blog, doesn’t make you a shaper of the blogging world. You would need to be far more engaged than just updating a blog when you’re bored. The Amablogoblogo is an initiative to give recognition to those who make a difference in the world of Web 2.0. More criteria to follow.

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