South Africa Dominates African Twitterverse

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefK.Masimba | April 14, 2014

Africa’s richest country, South Africa, dominated conversation on the social networking platform, Twitter, while football was the most discussed topic in the last quarter of 2013 according to a recent study.


The research by Portland Communications and Tweetminster also found that Nelson Mandela’s death on December 5 generated the highest volume of geo-located tweets during the period of the study.

The study, which measured Twitter traffic and trends in the final three months of 2013, revealed that Johannesburg in the most active city on the platform in Africa, with 344,214 geo-located tweets.

This was followed by Ekurhuleni, another South African city, which had 264,172 tweets. Egypt’s capital city, Cairo, came third with 227,509 tweets. Another South African city, Durban, came fourth with 163,019 tweets.

The most mentioned football team on the African Twitterverse was South Africa’s Orlando Pirates employing hashtags such as #BlackisBack, #PrayForOrlandPirates and #OperationFillOrlandoStadium.

The study found that Tuesdays and Fridays are the most active tweeting days on the continent and that activity on the instant messaging platform rises steadily through the afternoon and evening, with peak volumes around 10 pm.

According to the study, English, French and Arabic are the most common languages on Twitter in Africa, accounting for 75,5 per cent of the tweets analysed. Zulu, Swahili, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Portuguese are the next commonly tweeted languages.

Brands in Africa are becoming increasingly prevalent on Twitter. Portland tracked major hashtag activity from top brands such as Samsung (#SamsungLove), Adidas (#Adidas) and Magnum ice cream (#MagnumAuctions).

According to TwitPolls, ousted Egyptian Prime Minister, Morsi has the biggest following on Twitter @MuhammadMorsi, 1,9m followers, followed by Christian minister, @PastorChrisLive 1,2m, Egyptian television, @ONtveg 1,0m, South African television personality, Gareth Cliff, @GarethCliff (Writer) 549,000 followers, and Nigerian musician, Two Face @2faceidibia at 356,000 followers.

Social networking is growing in significance in Africa. The continent is home to approximately 650 million mobile phone subscribers, a number that surpasses the United States and European Union. Currently, Africa’s mobile data usage amounts to 14.85% of the total internet traffic – second only to Asia.

Currently, an estimated 16 per cent of Africa’s population or 7 percent of the globe’s total Internet users are online, and 52 million are on Facebook.

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