Introducing Sheena Gates

Sheena Gates

Sheena Gates started out as a blogger. Through this, she became familiar with Social Media and before she knew it, she was hooked line, sinker & fishing rod.   She now heads up the Social Media team at Aqua Online – a prominent Johannesburg digital agency that handles many big corporate companies online presence & digital spaces.

She is also the Editor of NerdMag, a digital ezine created through the South African Social Media space as well as blogs at popular award-nominated blog, If These Walls Could Talk v4.0


New line-up for the next two weeks

There has been a change to the line-up for the next two weeks.  Your presentations have been postponed until the April 11 (FULLTIME) and April 12 (PART-TIME).  A full brief has been posted on Blackboard.  It is detailed.  The standard has been raised.  I now expect brilliance…

You will have to read the Cluetrain to get background to the presentation and to make sure you have made an accurate interpretation of the thesis. You don’t remember 1999 as you were all about 10 so do not assume it is today.  There are huge differences between 1999 and 2011.  Singularity approaches… it was not always so.

Also make sure you do some research into how Presentation Zen style presentation’s work. You can also look at slideshare you-suck-at-powerpoint for some pointers.   Next week you have a blogging workshop. As there is a guest lecturer – it is compulsory.

BTech programme

Fulltime class as normal Tuesday / Thursday this week.

Full time class:   Monday April 4, 2011 Class at 09h00 with Sheena Gates.  Blogger Project to be handed out.  You should finish around lunchtime. Tuesday 5th  am:  BTech will finalize project and hand in.  No Class next Thursday  7th as it is training day.   Monday April 11, 2011 13h00  Presentations.  No excuses, no late submissions.

Part-time class: Tuesday April 5, 2011 starts at 17h30 for Blog workshop.  Tuesday April 12, 2011 class will start at 18h30 with briefing for second years.  Then presentations will be from 19h30 until finished.  Please make arrangements for transportation.  You may not leave until everyone is finished.

How others see you?

That headline should not have a question mark, but how others see you is always a question mark so please forgive my bad grammar. My students see me as a teacher, my daughter as a mother, my mother as a daughter, my work fellows as a pain in the ass.
But the more important question is how do I see me… Like the rest of you I am complicated and conflicted because I am not just one thing. I am ME. But who is me… Let me try with attributes and see if that makes a whole (or is it hole) me. I am not a doughnut.
I am friendly, except when you are needy, lying and trying to manipulate me. I am kind, except when you take me for a fool. I am honest… always for everyone (being honest makes you more unpopular than popular – nobody likes the truth). I am difficult, because I walk to my own drum and really, really like doing things my way. I am complicated because I play many roles and some roles are not to my liking or my choosing. I am arbitrary because I like to try new things – sorry guys – I know why you say that. I am old in years and young at heart because the world still excites me. You are many things too, I look forward to seeing the multi-dimensional you

Three simple questions to use as a starting block

There are 3 simple questions that I use, almost religiously, to guide me when I don’t really know where to start with a project, any project. And I find that they can be used in any order although there is no doubt that 1 and 3 are the most important. They are:
1. Who am I talking to? This is your target audience or the person you need to persuade of something. It can be anything from the market – people you want to sell or your significant other who you want to do something. The key phrase here is that you want something from someone.
2. What do I want to tell them? This is the message you want to give. It could be the basis of an exchange. E.g. If you do this I will do that. Or if you pay this amount you will this amount of value. The message dictates the barter.
3. What do I want you to do as a result of hearing my message. In a nutshell, this means what response do I want from you.
If you are a business you are best advised to start with 3 as this will decide the business objective you wish to meet and will also set the unit of measurement that you will use for your success (or failure).
If you are in persuasion, you might want to start with 1, as it will tell you how to present your message.
No matter where you start it, these three questions which I read off a wall in someone’s office a long time ago will set you on the right path.
Good luck.

Some questions to ponder

Just the other day, I received an email, yes one of those spam mails, which contained a some really interesting questions about life and about who you are. I am considering adding them to the 2011 blog topics because they do make you think about who you are and what you value. As is often in the case of these spam items there is no author, but thank you to the person who put this together.
1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
2. If presented with the opportunity to get a message to a large group of people, what would your message be?
3. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
4. If not now, then when?
5. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
6. Are you holding something that you need to let go?
7. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
9. Whe is it time to stop calculating risk and reward and just do what you know is right?
10. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
11. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
12. When you’re her age, (over 80) what will matter to you most?
13. Do you ask enough questions? Or do you settle for what you know?
14. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
15. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
16. When was the last time you tried something new?
17. Which activities make you lose track of time?
18. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
19. What is the difference between living and existing?
20. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yoruself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
21. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
22. Time or money?
23. Are you aware that someone has it worse than you do?
24. What makes you smile?
25. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
26. What do/did you want to be when you grow/grew up?
27. Will this day matter in five years?
28. How have you helped someone else recently?
29. What has empty fear stopped you from doing?
30. What is your greatest skill?
31. How are you pursuing your dreams?
Hopefully this will give inspiration to those students who are stuck for blog topics. Time is running out…

A new type of lecture – short and participatory

The brief:
On Tuesday August 3 a twitter lecture on the four proposed/actual changes to the law which are changing the media landscape, marketing and freedom of expression in South Africa.
The lecture will be tweeted using our traditional #smed10 hashtag.
The items are:
1. Proposed media tribunal (Paper to be presented to the ANC’s national general council meeting in September, 2010)
2. The Protection of Information Bill
3. The ICASA Amendment Bill
4. The Consumer’s Protection Act
The process
Prior to the event:
Real all the newspaper articles and editorials on these acts that you are able to find online. (Each student must read at least 2 articles per act). Please print out the articles that you have sourced – with full references.
Prepare at least 4 questions – Minimum 1 per act as to what you believe are the benefits as well as the dangers of the acts to the citizens of South Africa (Joe Public).
On WebCT: Take the Media landscape survey one: This is not a test, it is a benchmark measure of what you know about each bill. Doing it will get you marks, not how well you do. (Michelle – you got that I hope).
(I need it for the research).

On the day: At 19h00: I will begin to post tweets outlining the details of the acts/proposed amendments. There will be approximately 30 posts. At 19h30: PT/Students are to post their tweets – under the following guidelines.
• Used the hashtag
• One act or topic per tweet (KISS principle).
• Post prepared tweets first
• You will also need to ask questions of other people’s posts.
• You may flame – but you may not be rude.
• Twitter is a public forum
I have invited a couple of people to add their voices to the tweets. For example, the DA, Paul Jacobson (cyberlawyer), and Matt Visser (Moderator) etc. I will invite more.
At 20h30: We (the whole class will stop tweeting on this issue) however we may respond to @mentions of D direct messages.
On Thursday August 9: The class will retake the survey on webct. I trust that the result will be remarkable and show learning has taken place.
Marks will be awarded on participation – number of knowledgeable tweets – of approximately 100 characters or more. (Short enough to retweet without having to abbreviate.
Marks will be taken away for tweets, which do not add value (Really, wow, imagine that… are all banned)
Marks will be awarded for RT by people outside the class. (Yes, no doubt you will all get a little help from your friends).
Please feel free to comment on this post.


The verb “converge” means to come together as if to meet or join.[i] The adjective “convergent” means having the tendency to become similar while adapting to the same environment. The noun “convergence” is defined in Wikipedia as “ the act of moving toward union or uniformity; a meeting place; the intersection of three electron beams for red, green and blue onto a single pixel in a CRT (cathode ray tube); (Mathematics): the process of approaching some limiting value; (Physiology): the coordination focusing of the eyes, especially at short range; (Biology): the evolution of similar structures or traits in unrelated species in similar environments; convergent evolution; and the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified field.

Clearly there is not one monolithic type of convergence. And convergence can apply to anything from spiritual to harmonic; political gatherings to festivals, music to literature, social sciences, computing and technology, natural sciences and under mathematics:- properties, theorems, notions, generalizations, applications and modes – yes, it is all there.

However the notion of convergence in business and in business profit models or business patterns is gathering popularity. Convergence in business causes “Frontiers (to) fall. The rules of competition change.” (Profit Patterns)[ii] They go on to say “competitive boundaries are evaporating. Previously solid competitive walls are disintegrating in industries as varied as materials, financial services, life sciences and retail. In the convergence pattern, competitors from previously distinct industries start competing for each other’s customers.”[iii]

Patterns exist everywhere, but they are not always exact replicas of themselves. Patterns are used in learning and in language. Patterns are certainly not new. Indeed we learn from experience by learning from patterns – what follows next? – Until we automatically know what follows… “Chess is a game of patterns; patterns about how the game has unfolded, about where the game stands at the moment, and, most importantly, about where the game is heading. In chess, the player with the best skill at pattern recognition has a critical advantage.”[iv] Our knowledge, our logic, our problem solving abilities and even our instincts, our survival are based on patterns and pattern recognition.

Patterns can be exact replicas (a carbon copy) and they can be similar, they can be fractional copies, they can be siblings and similar relate or be related to each other or they can be lovers in a relationship. Synonyms for pattern includes original, prototype, archetype, model, outline, stencil, tessellation, category, blueprint, mould, guide, cycle, example, precedent and similarity. Patterns shift and move around, they are neither always constant nor orderly, nor are they easy to read. Patterns can be obscured, hidden or simply difficult to spot. Hence it is the detail and the nuance of patterns that determine its value. It is the fine-tuning of the reading that adds expertise and that adds value. Just as the fortune-teller or tarot-ready is able to assess your life patterns, your cycle, your blueprint of what you have learnt and how your respond to the stimuli of your life, so can other pattern readers assess the pattern. And answer the ‘what’ questions – what is future, what is wrong with me and what is the weather going to do?

“Patterns open our eyes, our thinking. They give us clues. They tell us what signals to look for?”[v]

(Also posted on wtfmediaconf – the blog) For more on the conference

[i] The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1991, 8 edn, Oxford University Press.

[ii] Slywotzky, AJ, Morrison, DJ, Moser, T, Mundt, KA, Quella, JA 1999, Profit Patterns: 30 ways to anticipate and profit from strategic forces reshaping your business. Wiley. Sussex, England.

[iii] Ibid p67

[iv] Ibid p 3

[v] Ibid p48