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Twitter reveals insights into how South Africans use Twitter

A recent study commissioned by Twitter and conducted by Nielsen, looked at the Twitter habits of South African users. The study shows that Twitter is growing in popularity and that Twitter is used for much more than personal updates.

Who are they?
The demographics show that Twitter really is a platform for everyone. The study showed that 53 percent of users in South Africa fall in the age range of 25-44; nearly one third (29 percent) are aged 16-24 and the remaining 18 percent are over 55.

Just over half of the Twitter users in South Africa are women (56 percent) with men making up the remaining 44 percent.

How we engage with Twitter
It is no surprise that 87 percent 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 percent and tablet users contribute 32 percent 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 6-9pm and during weekend nights (midnight – 7am).

When looking at the range of Twitter features available and what is used most often, 52 percent of those surveyed said that they read Tweets on their timeline daily, 40 percent said they Tweet themselves and 37 percent look at the trending topics.

South Africans make use of Twitter for different reasons but mainly to keep up-to-date, connect and discover. As much as 64 percent of users use Twitter for keeping up-to-date with breaking news and 39 percent use it for the latest sports information. In terms of connecting with people, 55 percent engage with people they know and 53 percent of users connect with people they don’t know – showing the power of Twitter to create connections. Twitter is also used as a way to discover and 58 percent of users conducted searches on the platform.

Here are some interesting findings on what South Africans do on Twitter.

What we Tweet about
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 percent 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 percent of South African Twitter users indicating it as their top interest. Film (67 percent), food (66 percent), TV shows (64 percent) and travel (60 percent) complete the top five South African interests on Twitter.

In Summary
•Twitter is an everyday activity – 61 percent of South African users visit Twitter every day and more than two in five engage several times a day
•Mobile is at the heart of Twitter – 85 percent of South Africans a mobile device (phone and/or tablet) to access Twitter. 79 percent of whom, state that mobile devices are the primary way they access Twitter.

It is clear that in South Africa, Twitter is a live, public and conversational platform that instantly connects people with what’s most meaningful to them.

About Twitter, Inc.
Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. By developing a fundamentally new way for people to consume, create, distribute and discover content, Twitter enables any voice to echo around the world instantly and unfiltered. The service can be accessed at, via Twitter mobile applications for a variety of devices, and by text message. Available in more than 35 languages, Twitter has more than 284 million monthly active users. For more information, visit

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