Michelle Atagana does not remember a time before the internet. A thoroughbred digital native, the 25-year-old still remembers her first Netscape social network profile. “I was a kid who never played outside,” she says without blinking. No wonder she started the media programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg when she was 16. After completing her master’s about the impact of blogging on South African journalism, she started at Memeburn as a writer but was quickly promoted to managing editor. Arguably South Africa’s fastest-growing tech website, Memeburn goes beyond the headlines to provide analysis and context for the hyper-reality that is consuming the world. Much of Atagana’s work at Memeburn feeds into her PhD on how the “twitterisation” of journalism is setting the agenda in society. Atagana is also working on a second novel, following her teen fiction debut in 2010.
— Nadine Botha