In Twitter, there are truths

For those using Twitter, take a look at wefollow if you haven’t already. Listing your account in there was all the rage a few months back and even though wefollow is just doing its thing at this point, a lot can be learned from it. For instance, if you’re twitting from Africa, add yourself to the list. Why? Have you taken a look at what comes up on the Africa tags?

Of the top 10 spots, one isn’t actually directly about Africa (#1 blackvoices) and six others are all charities. What does this tell us? Well, it could be a couple of things:

  • Despite already being on Twitter, many Africans simply don’t know about wefollow and so that’s skewing the statistics. Of course @maneno we try to follow whomever is involved in Africa and to date that’s only about 1,200 people on Twitter.
  • Charities are good at getting their follower numbers high. Undoubtedly Malaria No More got a massive boost with Ashton Kutcher’s whole deal to get one million followers awhile back and this just translates in to quantity, not quality.
  • Despite all the new media innovations, charities are still dominating the conversations about Africa.

It’s this last point that is the most poignant to look at because more people follow Camfed and their latest donations twit to fund their organization than what Erik and Allen are saying about new growth and innovation in Africa. I might add that Camfed has nearly twice the amount of followers as Erik and Allen’s put together.

But is this a question of these charities just being better at digital marketing or the fact that no one wants to hear what Africans are saying? Maybe it’s the old patriarchal manner of thinking that Africa is best spoken about by an intermediary who helps interpret what Africans are saying? Take a look at the top 100 number of followers by tag and you won’t see Africa or anything Africa-related in there. So, there appears to be an active lack of disinterest in Africa on Twitter. Also interesting to note is that all of those terms are in English so one could gather that Twitter expansion in to other language spheres is still just a drop in the bucket in their overall users.

Will this change in time? Yes, of course. Twitter is growing at a phenomenal rate and in theory wefollow will update with it to better track these trends. They do however echo what I’ve seen in general.
Oh, if you’re looking for the Maneno Twitter there, it’s usually on the second page somewhere in the 40’s.