In a follow-up to our look at mobile phone use in Morocco, we are in debt to the "Notebook", the blog run by Portland for a look at Twitter. Portland is an independent consultancy involved in strategic communications, public affairs, international affairs and digital research.
In their latest research Portland embarked on an attempt to comprehensively map the use of Twitter in Africa. Portland and Tweetminster analysed over 11.5 million geo-located Tweets originating on the continent during the last three months of 2011. This pan-African analysis of Twitter traffic was complemented by a survey of 500 of Africa’s most active Tweeters.
And the result? It is young people, not leaders or business people Tweeting from mobile devices that are driving the growth of Twitter in Africa.
The top twitter uses in order are South Africa (5,030,226), Kenya (2,476,800), Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620).
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Interestingly, 68% percent of those surveyed say they use Twitter to monitor news. 2% use it to search for employment opportunities.
Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Partner for Digital Communications, says: “One of the more surprising findings of this research is that more public figures have not joined Africa’s burgeoning Twittersphere. With some notable exceptions, we found that business and political leaders were largely absent from the debates playing out on Twitter across the continent. As Twitter lifts off in Africa, governments, businesses and development agencies can really no longer afford to stay out of a new space where dialogue will increasingly be taking place.”
How Africa Tweets found that Twitter is helping to form new links within Africa. The majority of those surveyed said that at least half of the Twitter accounts they follow are based on the continent.
Beatrice Karanja, Associate Director and head of Portland Nairobi, says: “We saw the pivotal role of Twitter in the events in North Africa last year, but it is clear that Africa’s Twitter revolution is really just beginning. Twitter is helping Africa and Africans to connect in new ways and swap information and views. And for Africa – as for the rest of the world – that can only be good.”
You can find out more about the Portland research here (PDF): Portland - How Africa Tweets
The View from Fez is an active Twitter user. We send out links to our stories and also use Twitter to gather news. To date we have tweeted 1656 stories. You can follow us here: The View from Fez Twitter