Twitter activity in Africa during the last quarter of 2013 peaked on the day of Nelson Mandela’s death, according to How Africa Tweets, a new study analysing Twitter activity on the continent.
In a follow up to its 2012 study, strategic communications agency Portland analysed geo-located tweets originating from Africa during the final three months of 2013. The second How Africa Tweets study dives deeper into Twitter use on the continent, looking at which cities are the most active, what languages are being used the most and what issues are driving the conversation online.
How Africa Tweets found that, during the final three months of 2013:
* Johannesburg is the most active city in Africa, with 344,215 geo-located tweets, followed by Ekurhuleni (264,172) and Cairo (227,509). Durban (163,019) and Alexandria (159,534) make up the remainder of the top five most active cities
* Nairobi is the most active city in East Africa and the sixth most active on the continent, with 123,078 geo-located tweets
* Accra is the most active city in West Africa and the eight most active on the continent, with 78,575 geo-located tweets
* English, French and Arabic are the most common languages on Twitter in Africa, accounting for 75.5% of the total tweets analysed. Zulu, Swahili, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Portuguese are the next most commonly tweeted languages in Africa
* Tuesdays and Fridays are the most active tweeting days. Twitter activity rises steadily through the afternoon and evening, with peak volumes around 9pm
* The day of Nelson Mandela’s death – 5 December – saw the highest volume of geo-located tweets in Africa
Portland tracked major hashtag activity from top brands such as Samsung (#SamsungLove), Adidas (#Adidas) and Magnum ice cream (#MagnumAuction)
Football is the most-discussed topic on Twitter in Africa. Football was discussed more than any other topic, including the death of Nelson Mandela. The most mentioned football team was Johannesburg’s Orlando Pirates (#BlackisBack, #PrayForOrlandoPirates, #OperationFillOrlandoStadium)
Politically-related hashtags were less common than those around other issues, with only four particularly active political hashtags tracked during the time period. This included #KenyaAt50 – celebration of Kenya’s independence – and the competing #SickAt50
Allan Kamau, Head of Portland Nairobi, says: “The African Twittersphere is changing rapidly and transforming the way that Africa communicates with itself and the rest of the world. Our latest research reveals a significantly more sophisticated landscape than we saw just two years ago. This is opening up new opportunities and challenges for companies, campaigning organisations and governments across Africa.”
Mark Flanagan, Head of Digital for Portland, says: “As well as adding diversity of perspective on political and social issues, Africa’s Twitter users are also contributing linguistic diversity. Twitter is now established on the continent as a source of information and a platform for conversation”.