Young people drive growth of Twitter in Africa

January 27th, 2012 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

Facebook Nairobi, Jan 27 (IANS) A majority of tweets in Africa are made by young people from their mobile devices, thus driving the growth of Twitter Africa, new research has revealed.

The study “How Africa Tweets” said African users of Twitter aged 20-29 are also active across a range of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The research by Portland Communications and Tweetminster said Twitter was helping form new links within the continent.

“It is clear that Africa’s Twitter revolution is really just beginning,” Beatrice Karanja, associate director and head of Portland Nairobi, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

“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,” she said.

The report said Twitter was becoming an important source of information in the continent, with 68 percent of those polled saying they use Twitter to monitor news while 22 percent use it to search for employment opportunities.

Analysts said Twitter will play a crucial role as Kenya gears up for general elections either in December or in early 2013.

All of Kenya’s presidential candidates, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are active Twitter users.

The survey analysed over 11.5 million tweets originating from the continent during the last three months of 2011.

“Twitter in Africa is widely used for social conversation, with 81 percent of those polled saying that they mainly use it for communicating with friends,” the report said.

Latest figures from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) also said mobile telecommunications were driving the country’s rapid internet growth.

The CCK’s latest telecommunications and internet report said Kenya now has 14.3 million internet users, and most of them — 75 percent — access the internet using mobile devices.

The study found that South Africa was the continent’s most active country by volume of tweets, with about five million tweets during the fourth quarter of 2011.

It was followed by Kenya with 2.5 million tweets, Nigeria with 1.65 million, Egypt with 1.21 million and Morocco with 745,620, to make up the top five most active countries in Africa.

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