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Facebook, Instagram, shape SA social media

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The South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study has revealed that a quarter of South Africans use Facebook while Instagram has seen the fastest growth of any social network in the country.|The South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study has revealed that a quarter of South Africans use Facebook while Instagram has seen the fastest growth of any social network in the country.

Facebook is now used by a quarter of all South Africans, while Instagram has seen the fastest growth of any social network in South Africa over the past year.

These are two of the key findings from the South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study, released today by World Wide Worx and Fuseware.

The study is based on access to consumer data from seven major social networks and a corporate survey conducted among more than a hundred of South Africa’s leading brands.

It showed 13-million South Africans now on Facebook, with 10-million, or 77 per cent, using it on mobile devices. Smartphones are used by 7,9-million South Africans to access Facebook, while 1,6-million are using basic feature phones to do so. Tablets are being used to access Facebook by 1,4-million people – many of whom are also using their phones.

“There is a misperception that Facebook numbers are dwindling. Numbers show the opposite,” says Gil Sperling, co-founder and chief technical officer of Popimedia, Facebook Marketing Partner in Africa. “Solid growth of daily active users was recorded even in Facebook’s most mature and saturated markets. Social media applications are maintaining their relevance across all demographics and regions.”

Sperling points out that Facebook as a whole has seen dramatic evolution.

“It’s grown from the ‘single blue app’ on mobile phones to a strong family of applications through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and the launch of Messenger and Groups. As a collective, revenue in excess of $12 billion is indicative of a healthy ecosystem and a thriving user base, which keeps returning.”

 

The big surprise in the results came from Instagram more than doubling its user numbers in South Africa, from 1,1-million in 2014 to 2,68-mlllion in 2015 – 133 per cent growth compared to an already high 65 per cent growth in 2015.

“The big trend last year was the impact of all visual networks,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of technology research organisation World Wide Worx. “Now we are seeing not only the impact of Instagram refining its offering, but also of users finding fascinating new ways of making it work for them.”

The biggest Instagram followings are claimed by media personalities, who post photos that give fans a glimpse into both their private and public lives. Minnie Dlamini leads with 517 000 followers and Bonang Matheba is close behind with 512 000. Among those who are not focused on posting images of themselves, professional photographers lead Instagram. Gareth Pon is the leading South African photographer on Instagram, with 246 000 followers, ahead of Gareth Howes, who has built up a 195 000 following.

Instagram also shows the highest planned use by major brands for social networks not currently in use, with 24 per cent saying they plan to do so on the coming year. At present, 42 per cent of major brands are using it, with Mr Price and Mercedes Benz having been the most successful with individual images.

“As brands become more comfortable with specific social networks, they become far more effective at using them as marketing and positioning platforms,” says Mike Wronski, managing director of media analytics organisation Fuseware. “Instagram is already the big winner among users. Brands want to tap into that enthusiasm.”

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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