2010 Roundup: Happy Holidays From The brainwavez.org Team
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By: The brainwavez.org Team on 24 December 2010
Category: News
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Season's greetings to all our visitors and contributors. Thank you for your support, comments, retweets, and Facebook shares, and for helping us add even more great content to the site this year (as well as a trophy on the virtual mantlepiece!).

Oh where oh where did 2010 go?! Looking at the calendar, I am surprised to see January sneaking up on me once again. Like most people I know, I'm not prepared for 2011 because there is so much unaccomplished work from 2010. But for brainwavez.org, 2010 has been an incredible year.

Brindis Copas I by Juan Antonio Capó Alonso, by 3.0 on FlickrWe have been so fortunate to have one of our best years with the site. The "10 Classic Speculative-Fiction Works Reinterpreted As Word Clouds" article exploded after it was picked up by Neatorama, and we are currently looking at the possibility of using the Word Clouds Mandy generated as desktop images, postcards, and so forth. Additionally, the site was a winner at the 2010 South African Blog Awards for the Best Post category for "Marketing District 9: The Web", which focused on the intensely creative marketing campaign for the Oscar-nominated District 9. We also began offering competitions and giveaways, first with Brandhouse and Scotland From Home and then with Nokia South Africa/Ovi Music. We look forward to offering other giveaways and competitions once the new year crashes down around us, so please be sure to come back and enter for a chance to win some excellent prizes.

For me, the biggest success of brainwavez.org this year was the submissions of new (and returning) writers and contributors. It's incredible to have new blood on the site, so I feel we must give thanks to Robert Lemmer for his stellar film reviews, the extremely talented illustrator Shameema Dharsey, as well as Anne Taylor for her book reviews and extensive Cape Town Book Fair coverage, Paul Pregnolato's expertise in political/crime-fiction reviews, and finally for Lenina Rassool as well. Of course, these contributors are all based primarily in South Africa, so I am still the lone carrier of the American flag. If anyone out there (regardless of nationality) would like to contribute to the site, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to myself or Mandy. We're always very excited to have new opinions and viewpoints expressed on the site, so your contributions are more than welcome.

It is hard to say what is in store for 2011. There are still super-secret plans in the works (which we will divulge when you are ready for them!), and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with Penguin Books South Africa, African Cream Music, MVD Entertainment Group, and Nokia South Africa. Thank you so very much for visiting the site, and please come back in 2011 for more excitement, enjoyment, and intrigue!

United States of America Jase Luttrell
co-editor
Portland, Oregon, United States


2010 has been a spectacular, eventful year for brainwavez.org. Although we tend to focus on all the things we didn't get to (that damn list is long!) or are still trying to finish (ditto!) this end-of-year roundup is a great way for us to pause (which is so hard to do when you're always focussed on the future) and reflect on some of the great things that happened to the site in 2010. All I can say is "Wow!".

The year started off well, with great posts from the team, but was largely uneventful until March when an article on the Zoo City book cover brought many fans of author Lauren Beukes and designer Joey Hi-Fi to the site.

We had our first unexpected(ly cool) experience when a feature I wrote on the Zoo City Bares auction (Lauren Beukes again!) was highlighted on io9, which was our first big "international hit".

Then the 2010 South African Blog Awards rolled around, and we aimed for the Best Post category with the entry "Marketing District 9: The Web". Thanks to everyone who voted for us (repeatedly, as per the unexpected rule change), we won, and I now have a magnificent trophy to use when fending off muggers. I cannot express enough gratitude to all who voted - both friends and complete strangers. Your support has been so kind and generous.

The award win spurred me into action, and a few days later, after years of only minor changes (but lots of discussions), I made a new version of our home page live (which has since had a few more tweaks but essentially it's the same design). It has been in the works, off and on, for a while and it finally felt like the right time to jump in and just make it happen. I'm sure you'll agree that it's a great improvement.

22 November 2010 actually marked our fifth anniversary (::cringe:: here's the first article we ever posted - we've come a long way! ::cringe::), though it went uncelebrated, but the Interwebs gave us a great gift in early December in the form of our first experience of a (small, but amazing) viral explosion.

A little article that I complied as a result of some late-night personal amusement turned out to be the kind of article that delights people on the Internet. On a whim, after posting "10 Classic Speculative-Fiction Works Reinterpreted As Word Clouds" to the site I submitted it to Neatorama and a few hours later received a message that it had been posted. The traffic rolled in, spiking on the Saturday, and then tapered off slightly until the Monday, when it did the rounds with the literary community on Twitter and ended up being spotlighted by Douglas Coupland (Douglas Coupland! I still can't get over it!), which led to an even larger spike in traffic. The comments we received and the comments that went along with the retweeting were so kind - I can't think of a better way for us to end the year.

There are many companies that we need to thank this year for their support and, in the case of Brandhouse/Scotland From Home and Nokia South Africa, for sponsoring great prizes for our visitors (and thanks, also, to Nokia for the media pass to Rocking The Daisies!). Thank you to Apacer (The Netherlands), African Cream Music (SA), African Dope Records (SA), Jacana (SA), MVD Entertainment Group (US), Nu Metro (SA) Penguin Books South Africa, Rebel Records (SA), and Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

I'd also like to thank various PR people in South Africa who have been so supportive of the site (you know who you are (if you're not sure then it's not you)), as well as BOOK SA and Truth Coffee who have, on occasion, provided me with bandwidth that helped with site updates or research.

Thank you, also, to members of the South African literary community (in South Africa and abroad), who have embraced the site, left comments, and retweeted articles that interested them, and especially BOOK SA, which has linked to many of our book articles, as well as retweeted items unrelated to books, and author (et al) Lauren Beukes, who always gives us great material to write about, as well as special access to… well, a whole lot of awesome.

Finally, I'd like to thank the contributors who created fantastic content for the site this year. Your work has brought even more quality to brainwavez.org and we appreciate the considerable effort and time that went into your submissions. Thank you Paul Pregnolato, Anne Taylor, Robert Lemmer, and Lenina Rassool for your considered words and thorough reviews and reports, and Shameema Dharsey for your beautiful, characterful illustration (with which I am not-so-secretly in love!).

The bar was set incredibly high this year but we resolve to raise it even higher in 2011. Please join us on the ride!

South Africa Mandy J Watson
founder and co-editor
Cape Town, South Africa

The brainwavez.org team will be taking a hard-earned break from 24 December to early January 2011 but meanwhile you can find five years of features and reviews in the archives.





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