Friday, January 27, 2012

The New Times: "Rwandans Among Top Users of Twitter in Africa"

Rwanda's New Times published an interesting article today about citizens' usage of Twitter, and discussed His Excellency's encouragement to all Rwandas to harness the power of social media. 

Rwandans Among Top Users of Twitter in Africa
By Edwin Musoni

A new report places Rwandans as the seventh top users of Twitter in Africa with close to 10,000 tweets in the last three months of 2011, according to a study.

The study was released yesterday by Portland Communications, a political consultancy and public relations agency that provides communications and public affairs advice to top brands and high-profile individuals.

The survey dubbed “How Africa Tweets” indicates that, in the last quarter of 2011, Portland Communications and Tweetminster conducted a unique study into the use of Twitter in Africa.

Analysis of over 11.5 million geo-located tweets originating on the continent and a survey of 500 of Africa’s most active tweeters showed that the seventh most active country was Rwanda with 92,880.

“The first survey of its kind in this region, How Africa Tweets, will serve as a benchmark for measuring the evolution of Twitter on the continent,” reads part of Portland Communications’ report.

South Africa led the table with 5,030,226 tweets, followed by Kenya (2,476,800). Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620), while Algeria emerged sixth with 103,200 tweets.

The study also found that 57 percent of tweets from Africa were sent from mobile devices, 60 percent of Africa’s most active tweeters are between 20 to 29 years old and that 81 percent of those polled mainly used it for communicating with friends.

“Sixty eight percent said they use Twitter to monitor news and 22 percent to search for job opportunities,” reads the survey.

President Paul Kagame is among the Heads of State who have taken the microblogging site to directly engage or respond to people inside and outside Rwanda.

The Head of State has previously said he finds time in between his busy schedule to attend to his Twitter account @PaulKagame and answer questions, if any, or comment on current issues around the world.

Commenting on the ranking, Lucy Mbabazi, a public policy and IT specialist, who is also an ardent Tweep (moniker for people who tweet), said that Twitter had managed to contribute highly in the social affairs sector in Rwanda.

“If I can tweet police and ask them to ensure more safety at some junctions and they do it, I think the potential is massive. … Also, the Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho’s Monday sessions on twitter are interactive and informative, this has made the ministry very responsive to feedback,” Mbabazi wrote in her tweets.

Jacqueline Ndinda, a Kenyan Freelance journalist, said that Rwanda deserved to come among the best countries in Africa considering the fact that President Kagame has taken the lead in motivating his citizens to use the social media platform.

“Rwandan President gives all other African countries a run. He engages in conversation. Which other African President does that? But I don’t see a big number of tweeps from Rwanda engaging him, it’s an opportunity Rwandans should exploit,” said Ndinda

A hash-tag of #Africatweets was suggested for debate on the findings. Twitters offers 140 characters to microblog and paste links from websites.