Local IT journalist and Web 2.0. marketing facilitator Axel Bührmann has topped the Twitter Elite list in three categories: Johannesburg, Gauteng and South Africa. He garnered a 99.94 grade overall, although he has hit 100% on occasion.

To feature on the Twitter Elite list at www.twittergrader.com, tweeters have to excel in a range of areas to secure their position on the list, including number of followers, power of followers, updates, update “recency”, follower/following ratio, engagement and ranking among users.
Although the Elite list is dynamic and is updated several times a day, taking first place among Johannesburg and Gauteng tweeters (and second in South Africa overall) is a big step in Bührmann’s social marketing career.
Earlier this year he launched Charged New Media – a social media consultancy – and says this Twitter Elite recognition will go a long way toward underpinning his expertise in the social media arena.
“Recent research indicates that South Africa has is the tenth largest user of Twitter in the world,” Bührmann says. “We are also the largest user of Facebook on the continent.”
According to Bührmann, initially seen as social connectivity “toys” for friends and undergraduates, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube have turned into powerful online branding vehicles that allow corporations to drive real business straight to the door of their prospective customers.
“In a tumultuous market, where many businesses are compelled to evolve or die, Charged New Media has been introduced to help them avoid the latter circumstance,” he says.
“What we’ve learned, through our evolution from print to online, is that the Web, social media and Web 2.0. has changed the rules of marketing and PR. Traditional approaches are no longer necessarily enough and only  those businesses that continuously engage with their target audiences on their own ‘turf’ will continue to succeed in an ever-growing virtual world.”
Bührmann says his forays into social media sites over the past three years, including Facebook, Twitter at www.twitter.com/chargedtweet, Flickr at www.flickr.com/snapeverything, and YouTube at www.youtube.com/chargedsouthafrica have — in many ways – been about “proof of concept”.
“In a world where personal and business lives tend to be more blurred than ever before, we have been using social media sites intensively, gaining knowledge not only their ‘personal’ aspects, but also on the business side,” he adds.
“We needed to not only prove that social marketing works in terms of promoting brands in the way that traditional approaches can’t, but also to understand its dynamic.
“It is no good promoting yourself as a player in this burgeoning new arena unless you have jumped into it yourself, have come to grips with it, and are excited about the potential.”