Twitter is more popular than ever in South Africa, and people are using it for much more than personal updates.
These are among the findings of a study commissioned by Twitter and conducted by Nielsen into the Twitter habits of South African users.
The study showed that 53% of users in South Africa fall in the age range of 25-44; nearly one third (29%) are aged 16-24 and the remaining 18% are over 55.
Just over half of the Twitter users in South Africa are women (56%) with men making up the remaining 44%.
It is no surprise that 87% of people use a mobile phone to access the Internet and, of those, three in five use their mobile phone to access Twitter as a preference. Laptops are the second most popular device used to access Twitter at 68% and tablet users contribute 32% of the access.
As a result of the high percentage of people engaging with Twitter via a mobile device (mobile phone and/or tablet), Twitter is most often accessed “on the move” and “in the moment”. For example, while travelling; at school and university; shopping and at live events.
Mobile users also tend to be more likely to engage with Twitter at various times of the day but are particularly more
active than the average Twitter user during the weekday evenings between 18:00 and 21:00, and during weekend nights (midnight to 07:00).
As regards available Twitter features and what is used most often, 52% of those surveyed said that they read Tweets on their timeline daily, 40% said they Tweet themselves and 37% look at the trending topics.
South Africans make use of Twitter for different reasons but mainly to keep up to date, connect and discover: 64% of users use Twitter for keeping up to date with breaking news; and 39% use it for the latest sports information. In terms of connecting with people, 55% engage with people they know and 53% of users connect with people they don’t know. Twitter is also used as a way to discover and 58% of users conducted searches on the platform.
According to the study in South Africa, women are more likely to Tweet about holidays and celebrities whereas men Tweet about news, sports and politics.
However 63% of people Tweet about jokes or things that make them laugh. A good example of this is the recent “Twitter Town Hall” #AskMmusi where South Africans started to Tweet jokes and ended up causing #AskMmusi to trend worldwide.
Another South African favourite is music content, with 69% of South African Twitter users indicating it as their top interest. Film (67%), food (66%), TV shows (64%) and travel (60%) complete the top five South African interests on Twitter.