Entrepreneur and digital media educator, Dave Duarte, is a highly respected figure in the South African online space (as well as abroad). Currently Dave is the CEO of Treeshake, a startup investment company that also manages educational projects involving web and mobile technology. Dave offers his expertise to Universities across the globe, and is the Principal at the Ogilvy Digital Marketing Academy. We spoke with him about the different uses of social media in South Africa in comparison to more developed countries. Dave also shared his thoughts on Facebook going public.
Hi Dave. Which social media networks are most popular in South Africa?
Are there any social networks that are very successful in the US or the UK that have failed in SA?
Yes, plenty! Yelp, for example, is very popular for restaurant reviews in the US and the UK but isn’t available in South Africa. Kickstarter and Spotify don’t work with South African accounts. Myspace never really took off in SA. Moshi Monsters is a hit with kids in the UK but not used much here.
These are just a few reasons why there’s still many opportunities for copycat web entrepreneurs to create products that are tailored for the market here. Why do you think Baidu and Alibaba do better than Google or Amazon in China, or why BidorBuy is more popular than eBay in South Africa?
Do you see social media continuing to grow in 2013?
We’ve only just begun in South Africa. I think we’ll see at least a 30% increase in Social media use here by the end of 2013.
What are your thoughts on Facebook going public, and will this affect it positively or negatively?
Facebook was a very public company before the IPO anyway, so I think the market pressure-cooker effect shouldn’t have too much of a limiting effect on their innovation. On the upside, they get to raise lots of money to invest in buying out potential competitors at this early and crucial stage for online social media. The company has also proven to be very good at gathering user intelligence and responding to public feedback, so if anything their listing raises the stakes for some of the smartest minds in the world to share their input on their business model and new features. All in all, I think it’s a positive thing.
Do you think there is room for more social media platforms, or is there an excess?
There’s definitely room for more, though they shouldn’t try compete head-on with what already exists but should rather seek to solve the needs of niche user groups. For example, in a particular interest group or industry. Social Networking will never be a completely solved problem, due to the complex dynamics of human social interaction and network formation.
Lastly, what is the best status or tweet you have read recently?
Ronnie Apteker, funsightful as always, posted: “The secret of a good tweet is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.”
Thanks for your time, Dave. Follow Dave Duarte on Twitter here for the latest updates on digital.