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How Africa tweets

Africa is indeed on Twitter. Portland Communications and the platform Tweetminster have conducted the study titled "How Africa Tweets" , the first pan-African Twitter analysis that took place in the last three months of 2011.

Ory Okolloh with her child (Photo: Twitter)
Robert Watkinson, associate director of Portland Communications, explained to  France24 why his company did the study. His team noticed that the African continent was ignored in a report from an American think tank about the world's most influential Twitter users.

During the study, 11.5 million geo-located Tweets were analyzed and 500 of Africa's top Tweeters surveyed. The Portland -Tweetminster study revealed positive statistics about the continent. The top 20 countries represent 70% of Africa's total population, 85 % of the continent total's GDP and 88% of Africa's internet users.

Africa tweets young
For a start,  Africa's tweeters are younger with 60 % of them aged between 21 and 29. The average age of Twitter users worldwide is 39 years old. 81 % of them report using Twitter primarily to keep in touch with friends and 68% to monitor news related to international news, entertainment, national news, politics, sports, employment opportunities and health.

Africa tweets from mobile phones
Through Twitter, Africans stay connected with each other.  According to The Atlantic, 443 million people in Africa, which is about 53 percent of the overall population, currently have a mobile subscription.  So, this is no surprise if 57% of Tweets are sent from mobile phones: Blackberry, iPhone, Android. 60 % mainly follow African Tweeters such as ex- Google Policy Manager Africa  Ory Okolloh. However, they are still barriers including security, privacy, and lack of understanding.

Africa tweets everywhere
During the period of study, researchers have recorded Tweets from different parts of the continent.  On the African Twittersphere, South Africa leads with over 5 millions tweets recorded during the three months of the study. Nelson Mandela's homeland is followed by Kenya with over 2 millions. Nigeria (1,646, 212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745, 620) are also on the top 5. By volume and in that order, the top 20 countries also include Algeria, Rwanda, Tunisia, Mali, Cameroon, Sudan, Angola, Namibia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Libya, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana. The map reveals that the number of tweets is not necessarily related to the wealth of a particular country, France24 pointed out.

However, Africa does not only use Twitter as a social media tool. Based on this study, 94% use Facebook, 69% YouTube, 46% Google Plus, 37% LinkedIn and 23% Foursquare. This is good news for a continent where freedom of speech and other related human rights are greatly restricted.

(Photo via )


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