I published a tweet 10 days ago, which was inspired by the BBC’s report that the then presumptive Democratic Party Presidential candidate in the United States – former Vice President (VP) Joe Biden – announced the name of his running mate to the world on Twitter ahead of the traditional media.
So @Twitter made history today US time, yet again, for being the platform @JoeBiden used to announce his presidential race running mate, another history-setting event. Time for another comprehensive eNsight on this ground-breaking social network cc @The_eNitiaters? #eNiveristy pic.twitter.com/hsJcOHLKjW— Bra Willy Seyama (@BraWilly_Seyama) August 11, 2020
I am not certain how factually accurate the BBC’s statement was, but it inspired this eNsight nonetheless.
As an aside, if you follow the goings-on in the US – a country of 330 million population – you will know that the Democratic Party in that country just had its 4-day “unconventional” convention to officially nominate Joe Biden and his running mate – Kamal Harris – as the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates standing against Donald Trump and Mike Pence (will the latter still be the running mate?) respectively for the coming November elections.
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Twitter's influence as a megaphone is global
It is another morning of Twitter buzz across the world.
The Twitter heatmap above was copied from Tweeplers at 6:58 am on the 21st of August of 2020.
What the heatmap shows is that the world never stops talking, from the East to the West, from the South to the North.
Indeed, these Twitter streets never go quiet. There is no dispute, therefore, that Twitter sets the news scene ablaze.
As a result, we watch this social network closely here at eNitiate.
Quick overview of social media in South Africa
According to the Digital Report of 2020 (published in January), here are the most-used social networks in South Africa:
Note that Twitter is the 6th most-used social network in South Africa.
In numbers, here are the top 5 social networks in the country:
Note that Twitter is a tenth of Facebook.
However, this microblog’s size does not diminish its significance as a megaphone, certainly not for as long as there is #BlackTwitter.
So who are the kings and queens of South Africa’s Twitter streets?
To answer the question, I use Socialbakers as my source for top 10 Twitter handles by number of followers across 4 categories in this section.
1. Top 10 celebrities on Twitter
Would you have guessed that Elon Musk leads ZA’s celebrities category?
I know that the founder of SpaceX and Tesla was born in Pretoria, South Africa; but does he still call himself a South African?
What about Casper Lee? According to this young lad’s Wikipedia page, he holds a dual citizenship that qualifies him as a British-South African.
So, while he has been living in Britain for some time now, it does not appear that he has cut ties with people of the South.
If you take out Elon Musk from South Africa’s top 10 celebrities list, Trevor Noah takes over the top spot and Amanda du-Pont makes her debut entry at number number 10 with just over 2 million followers.
The remaining 2 Whiteys in the top 10 celebrities list both come from a cricket background, and all the 6 Darkies come from an entertainment background.
1.1. So which celebrities give love back in the Twitter streets?
To answer the question – and purely on a fun tip, I looked at the numbers of tweeps the celebrities follow, as a percentage of their followers.
This is expressed as Following/Follower in the second last column of the table below.
NOTE: I took out Elon Musk from the top 10 Twitter celebrities and replaced him with Amanda du-Pont.
My interpretation? The higher the Following/Follower percentage, the higher the love shown by the celebrities in the Twitter streets.
Reading this on your mobile? Just remember to tap on the table below and scroll right to see all the columns.
Better still, you can view it in landscape format.
As determined by the Following/Follower % in the table above, DJ Fresh gives the most love in the Twitter streets, followed by DJ Zinhle.
In ratio terms (last column) DJ Fresh follows a tweep for every 215 followers, and DJ Zinhle follows a tweep for every 317 followers.
Is there anything to read into the fact that both the top 2 celebrities “spin discs” and are on radio? Or is it in their personalities?
The debutante, Ms du-Pont, gives the least love with 1 follow for every 126 086 followers.
2. Top 10 commercial brands on Twitter
I use the word “commercial” loosely here, given that City Power and SAA are owned by government.
If the explanation above holds, then where is City of Johannesburg?
Well, Socialbakers classified the City of Gold under “Places“, together with other municipalities and tourism accounts.
The showing in the top 10 commercial brands by 2 Samsung Twitter accounts in the table above is an indication of the strength of this tech brand in South Africa.
2.1. Why is Nando's not in the top 10?
Arguably the most loved brand on Twitter at the moment, Nando’s has not made it into the top 10 – yet.
South Africa’s most loved peri-peri chicken brand is currently in the 12th spot.
But at it’s current rate of growth in followers – using July as a proxy, it is only a matter of time before Nando’s breaks into the top 10 list.
Let me drive the point home.
According to Socialbakers’ South Africa July 2020 report, the 3 Twitter posts with highest interactions in that month all belonged to Nando’s.
Are we surprised?
3. Top 10 political brands on Twitter
The Economic Freedom Front (EFF) – a political party – dominates the top 10 with 1st, 6th, 7th and 9th spots.
Is this an indication of the party officials’ relatively younger ages compared to other political parties in the country?
South Africa’s President – Dr Cyril Ramaphosa – is in the 4th spot, thanks mainly to his ascendancy to the highest office in the land in February 2018.
I say this because CR17 – as the current President was referred to on Twitter during his contest for the ANC presidency in 2017 – was not in the top 11 Twitter list of South African politicians in 2016.
4. Top 10 sport brands on Twitter
Soccer dominates South Africa’s top 10 Twitter sport brands, with 7 out of 10 Twitter handles.
- This is indicative of the fact that soccer is the biggest sport in the country.
- South Africa’s top 2 soccer clubs by stature and following are also in the top 2 on Twitter.
- Kaizer Chiefs, fondly referred to as Amakhosi (a Zulu translation for the second part of the name) by its fans and followers, deservedly leads the top 10.
I attribute the ranking to Amakhosi’s social media savvy, and I know this because I wrote about one of Africa’s biggest soccer clubs in 2013 and 2016.
The only non-soccer Twitter handles in the top 10 sport brands are in 3rd, 4th and 9th spots.