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Social Media in Africa: Twittering Jeff Koinange more popular than Tweeting Raila Odinga…

How Africa Tweets

In a recent report by Portland Research analysing 11.5m geolocated Tweeters in Africa, Kenya turns out to be the 2nd biggest Tweeting nation after South Africa. This didn’t hold much of a surprise for us at the Forum. Back in Nov.’11 we read a similar type of article about mobile use in Africa. In it, South Africa had the upper hand in terms of numbers of mobiles but Kenya was seen as the leading light in mobile ‘use’ in Africa.We have always held the notion that there are strong links between mobiles and Twitter…Tweeting seems like the natural progression to texting. Short messages sent not just to a friend, but also globally if needed. Since Twitter was originally conceived of, and originated as, an internet to mobile phone application, its not surprising that it has such strong links with the mobile phone, however its internet basis makes it so much more expandable. Twitter’s enviable position is that it  formed the original bridge between these two technologies, and now, as they merge becomes a key commonality.

The mobile platform, also according to the report, is the main vector for Twitter-use at 57% of all African Tweets. This is not that dissimilar to our own KenyaForum readers’ mobile use which we have noted as just less than 50%, but whilst Tweets are perfectly formed for the mobile at 140 characters or less, our articles tend to be somewhat longer, so may be putting some people off mobile viewing ( please bear with us on this…we have a solution in the pipeline!)

So Kenya Tweets…but who and and where? Generally “More than 80 percent of those polled said they mainly used it for communicating with friends, 68 percent said they use it to monitor news and 22 percent to search for jobs” (from ‘How Africa Tweets’)

Reassuringly the main focus of Tweets are in Africa..over 60%.

Next we have some firm favorites here in Kenya. You can look at this for Kenyas top 17 ‘Twitterers’ in November ’11

Jeff Koinange: More followers than the Prime Minister

showing @yesumob, Mutinda Kisio’s (56,460 followers) motivational christian message tweets in the number one spot, or here for the Nairobi breakdown (this list seems to be a bit out of date) but on todays ratings our favourite  Twitterer in Kenya is none other than TV presenter Jeff Koinange with 62,473 followers, so hats off to Jeff for being more popular than the Prime Minister on 32,021 followers, Uhuru Kenyatta on  34,817 followers, Martha Karua on 51,993 or Bob Collymore the most popular businessman on 41,143…

Julius Kanyi: Cool Guy doing well on Twitter...

Wild card in the pack comes from Julius Kanyi on 49,743 followers, he seems like a ‘cool’ guy, but apart from being an expert at promoting himself through all available channels, being interested in technology and music and ‘Old Trafford’ we have yet to find out why he is just so popular. Maybe someone can write in and enlighten us?

So finally how do the other social media compare? or rather in the terms of the survey how many people in Africa, cross-platforms with Twitter? Well 94% of Tweeters use Facebook, 69% Youtube, 46% Google+, 37% Linkedin and 23% Foursquare.

The average age of African Tweeters is in the 20-29 yo range (compared to avg.39 yo worldwide).

Similarly on Facebook the modal age is in the 18-34yo range (70% on current Kenya stats.)

Kenya has an ever youthful population, growing up to use proportionally more social media and a growing mobile market supporting the same. The figures are ever expanding as accessibility improves, and relative costs reduce.The future responsibility for the positive use or abuse, benefits and drawbacks of these mediums should, in an ideal world, also become a largely young persons issue. How this control will be handled or whether the people controlling the systems are in touch with their youthful audiences has yet to be seen, but we know they are coming…

(The Kenya Forum will look at some of these control issues in the next ‘social media’ article a week on Sunday)

Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration

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