Comparing Valentine’s Day Twitter mentions for SONA2013 and Oscar Pistorius

This is part 3 of the series on SONA2013.

In part 1, I indicated that South African President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address this year got less than a third of Twitter mentions compared to last year.

<img src=http://"SONA2013_Twitter_Mentions.png"?w=605&h=302 alt="SONA 2013 Twitter Mentions">

SONA 2013 Twitter Mentions (Source:

There could be all sorts of reasons to explain SONA’s sharp drop from more than 45K Twitter mentions in 2012, including possible lack of interest by social netizens. One reason that stood out for me was competition for share of voice on this day that doubled up as Valentine’s Day, about which there were over 3 million global mentions on Twitter alone. But closer home something else grabbed the nation’s, and the world’s, attention.

You can also read: Analysis of Twitter sentiment for Zuma’s SONA2013 speech

If Twitter is anything to go by, 2013 Valentine’s Day will be remembered less for JZ’s State of the Nation speech, and more for the possible start of the demise of one of South Africa’s greatest sports heroes of our time. Without need to repeat details of yet another negative incident coming out of Mzansi that has been extensively covered by all the global news channels including CNN and BBC, suffice to say that Oscar Pistorius’s killing of his girlfriend in the wee hours on the 14th of February eclipsed SONA2013’s share of voice on Twitter, and probably on all online media, by a long shot.

<img src=http://"SONA_2013_Oscar_Pistorius_Twitter_Mentions.png"?w=605&h=305 alt="SONA 2013 vs Oscar Pistorius Twitter Mentions">

SONA 2013 vs Oscar Pistorius Twitter Mentions

Simply put, “Oscar Pistorius” was mentioned 18 times for every 1 mention of SONA2013 on Valentine’s Day. Clearly, Twitterers were interested in the developing story of the blade runner than in JZ’s speech. Interestingly, details about what really happened when Oscar shot his girlfriend of 3 months were not out yet. Even Oscar had not said anything at the time. Thus, these most of the mentions were based on lots of conspiracy theories. The rumour mill around this case is unprecedented in my recent memory, and it is getting juicier by the day. Enough about this tragic incident.

Incidentally, President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Address only 2 days before President Zuma’s SONA2013. Here are the comparative Twitter mentions for the two heads of state:

<img src=http://"Zuma_Obama_Twitter_Mentions.png"?w=605&h=302 alt="Zuma vs Obama Twitter Mentions">

Zuma vs Obama Twitter Mentions

That’s a million tweets for Obama versus 13K for Zuma. Am I comparing apples with bananas in this graph? You be the judge.


One thought on “Comparing Valentine’s Day Twitter mentions for SONA2013 and Oscar Pistorius

  1. Pingback: Love&Politics « keneilwedotcom

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