Social Media Analyst Confirms #SocialMediaBlackout Was A Fail

#SocialMediaBlackout has been a trending topic on Twitter for the past two days (20 to 21 June 2017) after MTN introduced a cap to its previously unlimited free Twitter usage.

According to Eye Witness News, the hashtag was started by activist Ntsiki Mazwai who encouraged the public to not use social media or purchase mobile data on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 in an effort to convince mobile operators to reduce data tariffs.

Since 99% of #SocialMediaBlackout posts originated from Twitter I thought I’d analyse usage on the platform to better understand if the fight against data was successful. Here are the findings.

Twitter Activity in South Africa

On 21 June 2017, the day of the #SocialMediaBlackout, tweets and retweets totalled 1 014 134 posts and was 6% above the daily average of 956 080 posts. This was, however, below the average from the past year.

Twitter Usage South Africa
The above graph represents Twitter usage from June 2016 to June 2017.
Twitter Usage 2017
The above represents the number of tweets and retweets in South Africa from 1 January to 21 June 2017.

Over the 24-hour period, posts increased throughout the day as represented below.

Total post on Twitter 21 June 2017
The above reflects the total number of posts on Twitter per hour on 21 June 2017.

According to the data, Thursdays are the most popular for Twitter users, followed by Wednesdays.

Week Day Twitter Usage in South Africa 2017
The above graph indicates the average number of tweets and retweets per day of the week for 2017 to date.

The total number of posts was also 3% above the average number of posts on Wednesdays in 2017.

#SocialMediaBlackout

Not only was overall Twitter usage higher than average, but #SocialMediaBlackout was a trending topic and was the second most used hashtag, accounting for 2% of total tweets and retweets in South Africa on 21 June 2017.

Although it is unclear how the social media protest was expected to result in significant change to data prices, the drive has had no impact. MTN and Vodacom reported that there was no notable difference to internet usage over the past 24 hours.

Key Takeaway

South Africans are all talk and no bite. Despite the topic of data being a pain point for many South Africans, and although individuals have been vocal about grievances around the perceived high cost of data, when it comes down to actually taking action we aren’t prepared to do anything more than complain.

Find out more about the hashtag as well as other data-related hashtags below:

#SocialMediaBlackout Stats

Additional Reading

#SocialMediaBlackout Stats

On 14 June 2017, South African mobile operator, MTN announced that their free Twitter service will be limited to 100MB per subscriber per day. The news was not well received by users and sparked a public campaign against telecommunication companies to reduce the cost of data.

As a result, the #DataMustFall trend, first made popular by Tbo Touch in September 2016, started to increase.

Data Must Fall Trend
The above graph shows how many times #DataMustFall has been used in South Africa.

Despite being announced on 14 June, the public only started noticing the changes in the following couple of days.

Data Must Fall posts June 2017
Online mentions of #DataMustFall from 1 to 21 June 2017.

Although triggered by MTN, other network giants have been involved in #DataMustFall mentions. In June, MTN was the most mentioned telco in #DataMustFall conversation and was found in 14% of mentions, followed by Vodacom with 11% and Cell C and Telkom accounting for 6% each.

South African mobile operators Data Must Fall Stats
Since 1 June until 21 June 2017, there were 70 369 mentions of #DataMustFall on the internet.

Not only was #DataMustFall being used, but #SocialMediaBlackout was introduced in retaliation. The hashtag was reportedly introduced by activist Ntsiki Mazwai on 19 June and encouraged the public to not use social media on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 in an effort to get the attention of mobile operators and reduce data tariffs.

Despite intentions, ironically, the hashtag was trending again yesterday and was the second most used hashtag on Twitter over the 24-hour period.

The most used hashtags on Twitter on 21 June 2017
The most used hashtags on Twitter on 21 June 2017.

The hashtag was most used on 20 June totalling 27 635 online mentions and accounted for 56% of all #SocialMediaBlackout posts. The hashtag received 18 989 mentions on 21 June – 31% fewer mentions than the day before.

#SocialMediaBlackout Statistics
#SocialMediaBlackout started on 19 June 2017 and saw a significant increase in usage to promote the initiative.

#SocialMediaBlackout was a trending topic and was the second most used hashtag during the tracking period and accounted for 2% of total tweets and retweets in South Africa on 21 June 2017.

#SocialMediaBlackout Data
#SocialMediaBlackout and #DataMustFall were popular hashtags used in mobile data-related posts from 19 to 21 June 2017.

Although the main hashtag was #SocialMediaBlackout, #DataMustFall and #SocialMediaShutdown were also used.

#SocialMediaBlackout Related Hashtags
Other hashtags used that relate to #SocialMediaBlackout.

The protest wasn’t taken seriously by the public nor telcos however, Afrihost and Telkom who took the opportunity to capitilise on the negative sentiment.

https://twitter.com/Afrihost/status/877451093688668161

 

It is doubtful that the #SocialMediaBlackout had any impact, but the latest Twitter user statistics suggest that the drive was a fail.

Find out how many people were on social media and did not participate in the data fight here.

Twitter Activity in South Africa June 2016 to 2017

Additional Reading