Who rules Twitter in SA?

Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - South Africans are following international trends and following their favourite celebrities on Twitter.

According to Socialbakers.com, celebrities in SA have the most followers on the micro-blogging site.

The top account on the site is Spud actor Troye Sivan, with 2.47-million followers. He's followed very closely by celebrity Caspar Lee, who has 2.45-million followers.

Cricketer Kevin Pietersen is at third with 2.2 million followers and comedian Trevor Noah, recently named as the new host for the Daily Show is fourth (1.9 million).

The celebrity love on Twitter in South Africa mirrors international trends.

Pop star Katy Perry is tops on Twitter with 68 million followers, followed by Justin Bieber (62.4 million) and US President Barack Obama (57.6 million).

Social sentiment

But despite the huge numbers on Twitter, success can be fleeting.

During the Ice Bucket challenge to fight ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis conducted largely on social media in 2014, tweets peaked at 600 000 on 23 August, but declined sharply by September to levels where they were before the craze began.

Some also criticised the hype regarding the disease that kills around two per 100 000 population in the US, but the lack of water leads to 3.4 million deaths annually - most of those in the developing world.

A Pew research study in 2013 found that sentiment on social media can shift quickly. In the US, Twitter sentiment on same sex marriage shifted from 55% negative to 43% positive in a period of just one month.

The research noted that social media sentiment may match public opinion, but it was not a reliable indicator.

Interestingly, News24 has the seventh largest Twitter following in SA, followed by Nelson Mandela, according to socialbakers.

Click here for the full list of top South African Twitter accounts.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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