Honouring Nelson Mandela Through Social Media

By Sheldon Levine - Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 at 7:30 am  

Nelson MandelaLast week the world lost a true hero. A man that stood for human equality and justice for all. A man who brought democracy to everyone in South Africa. Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s life story is quite incredible. He spent the majority of it fighting to make sure that everyone in his home of South Africa got a fair say in politics and fair chance in life. Some of his actions to help make this happen were not taken lightly by the government and led to his imprisonment for 27 years. But that never stopped his campaign for equality. After being released from jail, Mandela went on to become the President of South Africa in the first ever multiracial election that allowed blacks and whites to vote evenly. This triumph also made him the first black man to hold office in South Africa. After stepping down as President he devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy and awareness to further human rights for everyone around the world.

He continued this revolution almost right up until he passed away at the age of 95 on Thursday.

Since the world learned of Mandela’s death there has been an astounding 14.9 million mentions of his name or tribute hashtags such asĀ #RIPNelsonMandela across social channels. We found these mentions in 90,465 blog posts, 179,827 online news articles, 50,353 forum postings and 14,678,311 tweets. There has also been incredible 18,064 videos that have mentioned Mandela in their title or description since Thursday.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Activity Summary

Looking at these mentions plotted out over the past five days we can see that there was a collective of mourning tweets on Thursday when the news broke. These Twitter mentions continued at a high level over the following days overshadowing all other social channels.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Popularity Chart

When we remove Twitter from the popularity chart though, we can see that Mandela was being mentioned quite a lot through other channels. The difference here being that while Twitter was able to spread the news in real-time on Thursday, most news sites and blogs took the time to write lengthy pieces about the man that got published the following day.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Popularity Chart for Blogs, Forums and Online News

Mandela’s fame and influence had spread across the world throughout his lifetime, and this shows when we explored where mentions of him were coming from. The pie chart below shows where mentions about Nelson Mandela were coming from with all social media channels combined.

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However, to get a better sense of how Mandela’s influence spread across the globe, a look at the geo location heat map of tweets shows that no corner of the Earth was not saddened by the news of his passing.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Twitter Geo Location Heat Map

And people across all channels had nothing but fantastic things to say about Mandela’s incredible life. The most retweeted tweets about Nelson Mandela come from a range of sources from One Direction’s Harry Styles and Justin Bieber to Barack Obama to trusted news sources like ABC News and the BBC to The Nelson Mandela Foundation.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Most Retweeted Tweets

Key conversations from blogs show that people were telling the story of his life and mentioning his many accomplishments in furthering a just society for everyone.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Key Conversations from Blogs

These same of conversations were also coming from online news sources.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Key Conversations for Online News

Now that all of these stories of a great man’s life through struggle and triumph have been brought to major attention, let us hope that the world never forgets what Nelson Mandela stood for and what he taught us all.

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.

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