SA Music Awards 2012 yielded positive sentiment on social networks

The MTN South African Music Awards 2012 – alternatively called SAMA18 – was a huge success all round, judging by associated social network mentions during live TV broadcast of Mzansi’s biggest entertainment awards ceremony, on the night of April 30th. This year’s event cannot be compared to 2011, which was marred by a complete production failure. I am certain there will be a lot of analysis about the many factors that contributed to the success of SAMA18 in the coming days. In this post I focus my attention solely on insights from social networking activity during the event.

Analysis based on SocialMention‘s sample of data indicated that the bulk of SAMA18 social network interaction happened on Twitter.

SAMA18 Social Networking Platforms
SAMA18 Social Networking Platforms

A more detailed tweeting analysis is performed in the remainder of this post. Let me address rationale for this decision. In addition to the insight derived from the pie chart above; SAMA18 fitted the profile of Twitter platform with its pacy, hi-octane multiple-activity format. Equally importantly, there are ample Twitter metric measuring tools that are freely available on the Internet, and I shall demonstrate this shortly.

According to TopsyLabs, SAMA18 was the most favored hashtag for the awards.

SAMA18 Mentions
SAMA18 Mentions

The sponsor tried in vain to encourage use of MTNSAMA18 hashtag during the broadcast, and this was for obvious reasons. However, social netizens had the last word and used #SAMA18, again for obvious character limitation reasons.

#SAMA18 peeked at 26 000 tweets on the night of the ceremony, and this was not shabby when compared with President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (#SONA)‘s 40 000 tweets  in February this year.

SAMA18 review was featured in this week’s #InformUrSelf Twitterview

Analysis of related hashtags indicates what captured Twitterers’ imagination about this year’s awards – Zahara (8 awards won including Album of the Year),  Micasa (3 awards won including Best Group of the Year), and HHP’s sterling performance of his highly popular song of the moment titled Bosso ke Mang, coupled with a refreshing choreographed pantsula dance. What is remarkable about Zahara and Micasa is that they have both been on the scene for less than 2 years.

SAMA18's Related Hashtags
SAMA18’s Related Hashtags

The size of each bubble in the figure above indicates the extent to which a related hashtag was mentioned along with SAMA18 on Twitter.

An interesting related hashtag was manchesterderby, used for mentions on the British Permier League clash between Manchester City and Manchester United that was taking place at the same time as the awards. This game, expected to have been watched by over 400 million people around the world, was billed as the league championship decider between the top 2 clubs on the log at the time. In the end, Manchester City won it by 1:0 and toppled its biggest nemesis on goal difference.

Analysis of how the Internet was accessed is based on archived SAMA18 tweets, and the results are captured in the figure below:

Archived SAMA18 Tweets
Archived SAMA18 Tweets

In summary: 9 out of 10 tweets were from mobile web, 7 out of 10 were from Blackberry, and 4 out of 10 were from Ubersocial integration platform. Only 3% and 1% of the analyzed tweets came from the iPhone and iPad respectively.

Key insight: despite Blackberry’s rapidly declining market share in many markets including North America, this smartphone is still popular in the South African market.

Given SAMA17’s bad rating by many South Africans, I was especially keen on tracking SAMA18’s social networking mood from start to finish. The following tweet by a well-known radio and club dj indicated things were looking positive this year:

LuloCafe's tweet on SAMA18

I used two independent sentiment metric tools – Twendz and TwitterSentiment –  for real-time tracking of SAMA18’s Twitter mood during the TV broadcast. Reason for 2 different  tools was informed by fact that sentiment is arguably one of the most challenging metrics to track due to the potentially high margin of error; brought about by dynamic language usage that comes with culture and geography, and inability to measure context that has influence on the mood. Correlation of results from the two metric tools was a key for validation purposes.

SAMA18 on TwitterSentiment @ 21:26
SAMA18 Sentiment on TwitterSentiment @ 21:26

SAMA18 sentiment, as measured by TwitterSentiment within an hour into the broadcast of the awards, was overwhelmingly positive.

SAMA18 Sentiment on Twendz @ 21:31
SAMA18 Sentiment on Twendz @ 21:31

Notice from the screen shot above that Twendz displays contributing keywords to the overall sentiment at a point in time. As an example, it is clear from the above that sentiment was influenced by AKA/Jack Parrow’s live performance at that particular moment during the ceremony. RED bar represents negative sentiment, GREEN bar represents positive sentiment, while the White bar represents neutral sentiment. As an indicator, this metric tool is great as it assists in pointing out key drivers of overall sentiment.

Measurements were taken again shortly after the end of awards broadcast, and the results are displayed below:

SAMA18 Sentiment @ 23:30
SAMA18 Sentiment @ 23:30

As the second Twendz screen shot above shows, Gareth Cliff – some of whose tweets suggested he was not at the awards – played a part in the positive sentiment realized after the awards live broadcast. Gareth and Randall Abrahams, the current SAMA CEO, are fellow judges in the South African chapter of the Idols.

SAMA18 sentiment was positive overall, throughout the live broadcast;  and accolades kept pouring in many hours thereafter. The difference in the levels of sentiment as measured by the two chosen metric tools above is mainly due to underlying algorithm used by each of them.

Analysis of sample data indicated that up to 4 in 10 SAMA18 mentions were retweets, a great indicator of how engaged social netizens were during the ceremony. This can be explained partly by the most retweeted mentions by some of the celebrities.

Most influential SAMA18 tweet

SAMA18 most influential tweet

SAMA18 most retweeted mention

The awards truly ruled Mzansi’s Twitter roost on the night, as shown by trending topics on Trendsmap:

Trending topics in South Africa @ 23:03
Trending topics in South Africa @ 23:03

The tweet below summed up how social netizens felt about SAMA18, and I agree.

Tweeting after the SAMA18 broadcast ended
23:25 tweet



  • Nuffdotty – where thoughts on the subject of education, mostly relating to South Africa, are shared
  • Diski4Life – a blog about development of South African soccer post World Cup 2010



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