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Posts Tagged ‘Stellenbosch’

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twitter_logoIt’s tricky to start an article on Twitter. Not a lot of people (read: not enough) know what it’s about, but almost everyone has heard of it. Even my parents have heard of it. So I’m now going to try and explain this Internet phenomenon.

Twitter is a social-networking service, which lumps it into the same catagory as facebook, MySpace, last.fm and sites like del.i.cious. Whereas facebook and MySpace are bloated with all sorts of cool things like applications that make sure you’re awesome, and MySpace is a great tool for musicians to get exposure, Twitter has taken all of that and stripped it down into byte-sized chunks (called ‘tweets’) of no more than 140 characters.

I’m going to attempt to explain the functionality and use of Twitter by comparing it to facebook. Imagine that you strip facebook down so that you can do nothing more than update your status. Essentially, in it’s very simplest form, this is what Twitter is all about. “But I already have facebook!” I hear you shout, “why would I want to update my status twice?” Well Twitter has a hell of lot more features than that:

The Twitter Home Page

The Twitter Home Page

Now with a bit of imagination, the visual similarity with facebook can be seen. However, Twitter has taken a different view to facebook with regards to ‘friends’ (I use this term loosely with sites like facebook). Instead of the usual facebook and MySpace approach of requiring a two-way ‘friendship’ (You know, send a friend request, person confirms, they can see your status updates, and you can see theirs), Twitter has has split this concept in two.

Instead of becoming someone’s friend, you choose to follow them. What this means is that their updates will now show up on your Twitter feed (the white area with all the updates above). Following someone is instant. No waiting for a confirmation, nothing. The person you choose to follow is sent an email to let them know that you’re following them, and whether or not theychoose to follow you back is completely up to them. This is one of the beauties of Twitter, as it means you can follow celebrities, companies, coffee shops, etc. Also, if someone starts following you, you have no duty to follow them in return. In the screenshot, above right, you can see that I follow 52 people, and 80 people follow me.

The idea behind Twitter is that you use it on the go, posting little updates on what you are doing as you go through the day. Twitter was made for mobility. Because the tweets (the updates) are limited to only 140 characters, they are smaller than an sms, and so very cellphone friendly in terms of bandwidth. I did a little experiment to prove this. I’ve been using Twitter on my cellphone for about 5 days, without accessing any other websites off my phone. I’ve only used 4MB in that period. This makes twitter much cheaper than facebook. I tweet (send updates) all through the day, and even use it as an alternative to sms with the friends like MusicLady, who is as hot for Twitter as I am.

Directing a tweet at someone is also easy, by just adding a ‘@’ in front of their username.

Lastly is the powerful search funtion that twitter has:

The Twitter Search Engine - http://search.twitter.com

The Twitter Search Engine - http://search.twitter.com

By tagging your tweets with a ‘hash tag,’ like for example #stelexams in the screenshot above, you can search ALL tweets on the whole of Twitter with this specific tag. I started #stelexams to keep track of what’s happening with people that are tweeting about the Stellenbosch exams. The power of this function was shown on 22 April, election day, by those tagging their tweets with #saelections. This provided a real-time view of what queues were like, where stations were running into problems and so on. This ‘news from the front line’ is faster than any form of media, and is in my opinion, Twitter’s strongest feature.

There are some great people that you can follow on Twitter. Cafe Bello has a twitter account, as does Vida e Caffe, not to mention celebs such as Stephen Fry. Another account worth following is Stellenbosch Student Life, which in a similar vein to the CapeTown account, exists to inform people in Stellenbosch of what’s happening in town via Twitter.

I hope you have found this helpful. Twitter is the future, just no one seems to realise it. The best way to get to grips with Twitter is just to register and use it. It’s fun. It really is.

To follow me on Twitter, click here.

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My alarm didn’t go off this morning. While this is normally not a problem for me at all, I have this little thing called the mid-year exams which I kind of need to study for…

Luckily, I woke up of my own accord… To this:

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The view this morning from my bedroom window.

Do I need any more reason to love this town?

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logoThis weekend, being a long one and all, seemed like a perfectly fine time to go and see exactly how much dairy and alcohol one system could take. It was time for CheeseFest. Having been there the year before, and knowing exactly what waited for me on the other side, I was about do dive headfirst into what would be the ultimate hell for anyone with lactose intolerance. Hell yeah. I gathered to together the Crazy Kids from Cape Town who were here for the weekend, fired up Betsy, and headed off to Franschoek.

Better weather we could not have asked for, it being a perfectly perfect Autumn afternoon, ideal for sipping wine in the sunlight. Travelling with Kid A from Cape Town is always a lot of fun, seeing as she is nothing short of batshit crazy, in the best way possible. Highlights include her hanging out of the car window on the way there, drawing much attention to the oh-so Afrikaans family in the SUV behind us. It was a thing of beauty to behold. Kid B behaved himself. Kind of.

Eventually, after 2km of car queue (I kid you not), we arrived at the place that Kid A would soon refer to as ‘heaven.’

And heaven it was. If you have never been to cheese fest, then it’s all rather difficult to explain to you. The best analogy I can think of is that it’s a bit like a trance party. Except there is no trance, or hippies. Just a shitload of people, and one hell of a lot of cheese. There aren’t that many big name Wineries, but there’s plenty of wine. And taste it, we did. Nom nom nom.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

A few things pissed me off, like the overly sexually-frustrated Checkers presenters, trying oh so hard to get you to spend all of your money at their supermarket. Other than that it was all a rather pleasant experience. Not bad for an event where you have at least 5000 people whacked out of their heads on lactose (and wine).

I must also make mention of MC Squared wines, where I had the most phenomenal tasting… This man crafts the wines himself, and seeing his passion behind winemaking was quite something. He also has the most amazing warning labels on the back of his wine bottles. Keep an eye out for it.

After a braai back at mine, some more alcohol (Oh dear God why?), I became one with the couch, before having to drag myself up the stairs, for the great dairy digestion to begin. Man did I have weird dreams last night…

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You may have noticed that the look of the blog has changed somewhat. It’s now nearing the end of the holidays, and as I sit here on Easter Monday, watching the students return for the second term starting tomorrow, I couldn’t help but share how much I love this place.

This place is the best. All there are is bars (and churches) and for 8 months of the year it is filled with some of the best looking people in the world. I think there must be some sort of screening process, because I have never seen a truly ugly person in this town. Even the ugly people are good looking. Think about it.

A typical UCT student

A typical UCT student

There are other things about Stellenbosch that I will always love. The quiet calm of a Saturday afternoon, the way the sun sets in Autumn, hanging out on the Bohemia stoep on a sunny day. The madness of Mystics, missions to Hangbrug, and walking up Victoria Street, any time of the year. Falling in love, walking in Church street on a hot summer’s evening, and listening to the rain from under your duvet on a winter’s morning, just as you decide that that 8am class just isn’t worth it.

Most of all, it’s the vibe. There are only some that will inderstand what I’m talking about, but they know. It’s the vibe. There’s no getting away from it. This place is awesome.

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