Pedal faster.

It’s generally accepted that South Africa is – technologically speaking – a little behind the curve than the rest of the world. Yesterday however, it was made abundantly clear to me just how far off the mark we are. And all it took were 2 separate conversations.

The first was with the programming manager of a well-known local commercial radio station. We were discussing the state of the industry and future developments. At length, the topic of digital radio came up in the conversation. It lasted all of 7 seconds, long enough for this chap to tell me “Digital radio is dead. It’s not a threat.

The second conversation was actually the nth of its kind I’d had this week but it was the conversation that brought the others into sharp focus; the “A-HA” moment as Oprah would have it. Over this week, I’ve chatted to various local marketing and advertising professionals, informally – and one question has raised its head more than once in those conversations: “What is Twitter?” Usually this is followed by “How do you blog?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mocking these people. I’m simply pointing out that in a world where businesses are moving so rapidly to ensuring that social media marketing channels are part of their marketing strategy – and where the old ways of doing things just aren’t cutting it anymore (neither operationally nor financially) –  South Africa is struggling to keep up. And 2009 looks like 100 miles of bad road – all uphill.

We need to start pedalling faster.

A little something extra: I didn’t think Microsoft could sink lower than  “I’m a PC”. I was wrong. Here is the bottom of the barrel.

Someone please pass me a fork so I can gouge out my eardrums. I don’t want them anymore.

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11 thoughts on “Pedal faster.

  1. Howdy. That’s the worst promo video I’ve ever seen. 🙂

    South Africa is not alone in trying to keep up. They are in a long list. Many in the U.S. are in the same boat. Things are changing very rapidly. I suppose the key is to stay people-focused in our technology. If we get too far ahead… and perhaps too ‘useless’ for the mainstream…. then people will fail to follow.
    Just my thoughts. Thanks for posting your article.

    • Hi Evan

      Yeah. It IS rather horrible. 🙂

      Good point on the getting too far ahead and losing relevance to the general population.
      But isn’t also a case of “adapt or die”? Perhaps a digital version of Darwin’s theory in action?
      Either your business (and you) move with the times or you risk being obsolete?

      Thanks for the comments and thanks for stopping by.

  2. urrrrgh
    the definitive distinction between 2007+ g33k and 1970s gEEK!
    i feel too overwhelmed by social media- there should be more nichism- a word i made up- depending on what you want out of it methinks

  3. Hi Nooj.

    LOL @ your GEEKS comment.
    Nichism is a good idea. Ultimately that’s the aim of all good social media marketing.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I know the truth is hard to swallow regarding the tardiness of SA business to embrace new tools. Some of that has to do with parastatal inefficiency (Telkom), a mistaken idea that we are “behind the times” and an underlying Gin & Tonic attitude to rocking the boat. I lay the blame at the feet of advertising agencies (there are few exceptions) who have not led the charge into the brave new territory. Ever since the bean-counters became the unwitting leaders of the industry, everyone has been a little afraid to venture out. Much safer to tread the trad. 2009 has arrived and suddenly we have no bloody budget for shotgun shootin or sniper campaigns. Too damned expensive. 2009 is the year of broadband so there can be no more excuse. For companies NOT to know about the importance of how Twitter enables the desirable opportunity of starting conversations with an audience is sad sad sad. Anyway, we are a market that is quick to adapt, and I’m sure the smarties out there will join the tribe and start a few of their own…
    Microsoft vid? OMG! LOL.

    • Hi Lionel

      Your point on ad-agencies is most accurate.
      Agencies (for the most part) are stuck on doing things the same way, while praying fervently that their clients don’t ask them to do something new. The reason? The people who run the agencies need to protect their patch.
      Their outdated thinking renders them obsolete and they know it; but as long as no-one asks the old dog to do learn new tricks, they can continue picking up a paycheque.

      Here’s hoping that imminent arrival of REAL broadband/telecomms services in this country changes all that.

      Thanks for the comments and thanks for stopping by.

  5. Pingback: Dead Air… « The Batrachian Chronicles

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