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SONA lights up social media in South Africa

With South African social media buzzing ahead of President Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA), global media intelligence provider, Meltwater analysed some trends.

Volume of content: SA editorial news vs. SA social media

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

In the last week within South Africa, mentions of the keywords “State of the Nation” or “SONA” have seen a steady increase across both online editorial news and social media, with the latter witnessing a marked spike on February 8 - the day before the official ceremony.

Sentiment: SA editorial news

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

The sentiment across editorial media has been predominantly neutral, suggesting journalistic reporting of SONA has been unpartisan in the majority of cases.

Sentiment: SA social media

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

South African social media featured a more distinct positive (17.32%) and negative (25.56%) split in sentiment, as tends to be the nature of more opinion-rich mediums.

Top sources: SA social media

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

Most people mentioning SONA on social media platforms are doing so on Twitter. This may be because Twitter is the platform most used for political debate and engaging in conversations beyond friend groups. It is especially true for the trending hashtags that have surfaced this week, i.e. #SONA2017 and #SONAPredictions.

Trending themes: SA social media

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

Social media exploded after President Zuma disclosed that Government would be spending a total amount of R204,000 on the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the upcoming State of the Nation (#SONA, #SONA2017). He reasoned that a security presence was needed to enforce law and order and avoid interruptions by protestors. South Africans took to social media to express their comments and criticism, which contributed toward many of the following terms trending.

#SONAPredictions has been one of the main trends on Twitter in South Africa this week. It consisted mostly of a stream of jokes and memes about what would happen at SONA and what Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema would say.

Trending themes: SA editorial news

SONA lights up social media in South Africa

More than three quarters of the editorial media is of neutral sentiment. Articles are mostly about factual, neutral details such as where and when the State of the Nation is taking place or what it is about. As such, terms including Cape Town, South Africa, Parliament, country, event and President Jacob Zuma have been identified as associated themes.

#SonaPredictions trending themes: SA social media

SONA lights up social media in South Africa
The #SonaPredictions trend saw South Africans taking to social media to share a variety of farcical predictions for the State of the Nation Address. Trending prediction keywords can be seen in the word-cloud above.

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