According to the South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study, social networking has been breaking down barriers pertaining to age and other aspects. The study was done by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, involving information analysts and tech market researchers, respectively. Apparently, the 60-plus age group is the fastest growing segment among Facebook users in the nation.
The Latest Findings
Specifically, the number of Facebook users age 60 and up increased by 44% from August 2011 to August 2011. This is followed by the age groups of 30-60 years, 19-30 years, and teens, with 30%, 20%, and 10% growth rates, respectively. In addition, Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of World Wide Worx, states that the trend indicates the mainstreaming of Facebook in the country. He also notes that the rate among younger users is not as much as before, though the market is still not saturated.
The study also shows that by the end of August, there are 9.35 users of Mxit, 5.33 Facebook users on the Web, and 2.43 Twitter accounts in South Africa. Notably, primary studies done by World Wide Worx also reveal that around 6.8 million South Africans log in to Facebook though their mobile phones.
Aside from Facebook, Twitter has also seen an increase in registration, with a total of 2.2 million users by the end of June 2012. This means that since August 2011, an average of 100,000 new users have been joining in. Subsequently, the total figure has risen to 2.4 million users by the end of August 2012, according to Fuseware data that precisely matches with information from World Wide Worx.
Among other findings churned up by the study are as follows: First, the growth rates for Facebook and Twitter have been similar for the past year, at about 100,000 new registrations per month. Second, LinkedIn usage has also increased, albeit at a slower rate, with 1.93 million South African users. Third, Pinterest has yet to increase its users, as it has only about 150,000 registrants in the country. Fourth, among the youngsters 16 and above, WhatsApp, an instant messaging tool — is in the lead with 4.6 million users.
Based on these figures, social media is obviously becoming a trend among South Africans. As Goldstuck adds, social networks are currently fulfilling communication, entertainment, and information roles in the African nation.