Twitter in Africa Study: 57% of All Tweets Are Sent via Mobile; More Demographics and Usage Stats

African Tweeters: Twitter As News Source via Portland studyA study by Portland Communications and Tweetminster measured tweets throughout the African continent to create the first comprehensive report on Twitter use in the region. Reviewing more than 11.5 million location-tagged tweets and conducting a survey of the region’s 500 most active Twitter users, “How Africa Tweets” revealed that South Africa has the most prolific tweeting on the continent, with more than 5 million tweets posted in the last quarter of 2011.

South Africa’s tweets were more than double those of runner-up Kenya, with 2.47 million tweets.  Nigeria was ranked third with 1.65 million tweets, followed by Egypt (1.21 million) and Morocco (745,620).

The majority of tweeters (57%) in Africa are posting via their mobile device.  The population using the micro-blogging service skews quite young: 60% of Twitter users on the African continent are in their 20’s, while the average age of Twitter users world-wide is 39.

What are they tweeting about? 81% of African Twitter users polled reported that they use the platform to talk with friends.

When does Twitter serve as their main source of information?

  • For 76% of respondents, it’s the place to find international news
  • 69% use it to find the latest entertainment/gossip
  • 68% use Twitter to stay updated on national news
  • 43% check Twitter for their sports updates
  • Just 22% search for jobs on the micro-blogging platform

Study data also revealed that Twitter users on the continent are generally active on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. The study found that “Twitter is helping to form new links within Africa,” as at least half of the Twitter accounts followed by survey respondents were based on the African continent.  60% of respondents “mainly follow African tweeters.”

One surprising element of the research was finding that, for the most part, public figures haven’t joined Twitter in Africa. According to the study (with some exceptions) “business and political leaders were largely absent from the debates playing out on Twitter across the continent.”  Study authors concluded that as Twitter grows across the continent, governments, businesses, and development agencies can’t afford to stay out of this digital space, as reported by PCMag.

Click here to see Portland’s infographic on how Africa tweets.