Mhambi has been redeployed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Do you Digg Blik?

Mhambi discovered Blik today. Blik (Afrikaans: view, stare, look) is a web 2.0 Afrikaans link recommendation site ala Digg. Already there is an English language South African recommendation engine called Muti.

Digg, which started off as a tech news recommendation engine, is so popular that it soon overtook that other massive tech news site Slashdot. Slashdot used to be so huge that the phrase "you have been Slashdotted" became synonymous with the surge in traffic when Slashdot put a link to your website and cause your servers to keel over.

But where Slashot had editors recommending stories and deciding their prominence, Digg took this one step further, allowing its users to submit them and deciding how popular they should be.

Sites like Digg are bad news for traditional professional media and traditional marketeers. It allows the lone blogger, filmmaker, web producer to compete with mighty media behemoths like the BBC and Naspers. It allows an interesting web service to be found, without throwing marketing money at it.

If the Digg community thinks your point of view is better, or you know something before the Guardian does, your story can experience a traffic surge.

Did you know you can "Digg" Mhambi's stories by clicking on the link at the bottom of each story? And that increases the prominence of my story on Digg. See, six of you Digged my story on how many $100 laptops Oprah could buy South Africa.

Back to Blik. Is it a good thing to have an Afrikaans recommendation engine? Well it certainly does not suffer like Muti does in competing with Digg (who has long since moved out of being just about tech news). There are allot of South African stories on Digg.

But this brings to the fore a perennial problem Afrikaans faces. By using Afrikaans, Afrikaners can have a very unique, local, and intimate exchange of views and maintain their identity free from cultural imperialism. But its also self referential, self contained and incestuous. Often really interesting, sophisticated, open debates happen, like this Blik to a story on a farmer who's micro credit system has helped his labourers invest happen, but nobody outside the Afrikaans community would know about it. Which is a pity, because Afrikaners are a community wrongly maligned for being unsophisticated, narrow minded and boorish.

Which is one of the reasons why Mhambi decided to do this blog in English.

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Gerhard said...

Incestuous for Afrikaans people to use Afrikaans!?
You can't be serious.
But thanks for writing about blik anyway!

Wessel said...

No, not to use it, but it does lead to incestous debate. To qoute Kobus! "Ons is gyselaars in een groot kultuurfees tent."

Don't get me wrong, I wrote Wallpaper* a fiery letter when they said Afrikaans was the ugliest language. But it is a dilemma. We strengthen it and are cut off - at the same time - when we use it.

Congrats on Blik! I for one, will use it. (Mhambi is a bunch of contradictions)

Neville Newey said...

Hi Wessel, nice post about Blik, Gerhard is doing a great job.

I was interested in your comment 'does not suffer like Muti does in competing with Digg'. I have never considered muti to be even trying to compete with Digg, but I guess now that you mention it in a way its true. The reason I created muti is because sites like Digg and Reddit have so many posts that the African content gets drowned out, so I see a need for an African focused site, and that is what muti aims to be.



Wessel said...

Thanks Nevill. I see neither you or Gerhard digged my stories though? ;)

Maybe you should make some feed whereby we can incorporate Muti or Blik buttons onto our postings?

Neville Newey said...

Hi Wessel,

You say that neither Gerhard nor I digged your stories, but we both blikked and muti'd them :)

Have you ever blikked or mutid (sorry these are bad verbs) any stories?

There are several tools available to incorporate muti postings and muti feeds. Take a look at the muti toolspage. I am sure Gerhard will also make available similar tools for Blik in the not to distant future.


Wessel said...

...thanks, I installed a Muti Feedflare via Feedburner. Lets hope Gerhard creates one as well for Blik.