As at today, the 8th of April 2019, we are exactly 1 month away from South African national elections on the 8th of May. This will be 25 years since the first democratic elections in 1994. I must also indicate that ALL the political party elections at various levels of government during this quarter of a century have been successful. It is thanks to the capable and highly respected Independent Electoral Commission (the IEC), the effective judicial system that has stepped in when called to adjudicate on (a low number of) disputed results, and the maturity of the South African electorate.
I plan to publish a few blog posts based on my online analysis of different aspects of the South African national elections, as we count down to the day. In this post I ask: how has the IEC leveraged social media so far for the coming elections?
Briefly about elections in Africa
Democratic elections in Africa is a topic close to my heart. I see it as a measure of progress, a tool that ordinary Africans should use effectively to choose political leaders who are willing to improve their [Africans’] lives. African elections are important to eNitiate too, given that we are a Pan-African company. They are a key indicator of the continent’s ability to exploit the intra-trade potential.
According to Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (IESA), there will be a total of 33 elections across 23 African countries in 2019. The types of elections will range from individual or a combination of Presidential, National Assembly, Senate, Provincial, Federal, Local and referendums.
Here is an interactive map of the various election types in the 23 countries.
Included in the 2019 African elections calendar are the Nigerian Presidential elections that took place on the 23rd of February. 29 million Nigerians voted (35% of the registered voters), and President Muhammadu Buhari won a second term in office. eNitiate tweeted analytics on these elections.
The IEC’s tweeting behaviour
Twitter is used as a proxy for #SAElections2019 social media analytics.
I analysed a sample of 3199 IEC tweets, going back to 2016. 75% of my sample was tweeted in the last 2 years, and 37% in 2019.
The graph below displays the Commission’s tweeting behaviour:
Overall, the IEC has been focusing on community engagement, as exemplified by the contribution of Replies (70%) in its tweeting activity over the previous 4 years. This is commendable, given the need by the Commission to be active on all media platforms. The aim of fielding questions and responding to queries is to encourage high levels of interest and involvement by South Africans, which will hopefully lead to desirable voter registration levels and eventual voting.
Using Potential Impressions as a criterion, here are the top 10 hashtags that were used by more than 6 000 contributors who have been tweeting about South African elections in the past 4 months:
Source: Union Metrics
It is good to see that #Xsê2019, the IEC’s campaign for the coming elections, has been performing well on Twitter. The stats based on my drill-down of the campaign hashtag show that it was mentioned by 901 contributors, with average of 9.6 tweets per day – not shabby at all.
As the countdown to South African national elections continues…
I shall be keeping a close eye on social media performance of #SAElections2019 and related topics, and share interesting stats and facts based on my analysis.