What can one say in 140 characters?
That was one of the most common questions asked when people began to flock to Twitter as their social network of choice. Twitter has defied all odds to become a global contender among social networking sites (or a leading information networks, as its employees like to call it). The buzz around Twitter continues to increase while its IPO has gradually grown hitting about $24.9billion. In Africa, Twitter has taken on a life of its own with the platform being used for disaster response, customer service, activism and breaking news. The rapid adoption in Africa is due in large part to internet ready mobile phones and the potency of Twitter is already rivaling other instant messaging platforms; 2go, Whatsapp, Blackberry and Facebook Messengers.
The number of Nigerians on Twitter has continued to rise exponentially since it became the central platform used during occupy Nigeria protest about two years ago. Today, if you want to be in the loop of events as it happens in Nigeria, Twitter is the way to go. Even globally, there has been a massive shift from Facebook into other niche, more focused social media platforms, a fact to which Facebook has admitted. With the massive influx of people on the platform, it has continued to throw up new personalities and influencers.
Who are Nigeria’s Twitter influencers?
Opinions vary. People who tweet often (give it to @seunfakze and @omojuwa) or others who are influencers offline (@atiku, @donjazzy, @bukolasaraki) are often mentioned. Earlier in the year, Forbes released its top 50 list of Social media influencers which focused highly on the number of Twitter followings. In fact, I wrote about the top influencers that missed the Forbes top 50. But focusing solely on people with the highest number of followers Mark Zukerberg and the founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey wouldn’t even make your list.
Well then, which Nigerians rock Twitter better? Well, it depends on where you roll.
News, Politics and Policy
If you love politics and seek positive change in Nigeria then you should know @Saharareporters, the handle of Saharareporters, a news website building a niche for itself by releasing news reports that other traditional newspapers fear to publish. Other early adopters include Premium Times, Information Nigeria and NigeriaNews Desk. Traditional media platforms have joined these online portals on Twitter and are fast becoming a source for credible news, especially if you like your news served fresh in the morning. Most commonly among these are Channels Television, Vanguard Newspapers, Thisday Live, Punch Newspapers , Guardian News.
Political discussions are never a dull moment with the self styled certified ruffler of feathers and former minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir El Rufai alongside the former minister of education, Obi Ezekwesili who are never afraid to share their views online. If you do not believe me ask Japheth Omojuwa who has positioned himself at the center of online political discussions. For a proper Twitter political debate one must throw Egghead Odewale, Seun Fakuade, @rosanwo, Dino Melaye, @ogundamisi and controversial former Aviation Minister Femi Fani Kayode into the mix. Lastly we mustn’t forget the duo of Reno Omokri and Reuben Abati, who have the unenviable task of representing the government in several capacities.
Entertainment News and Gossip
Nigerian entertainment celebrities and personalities have ensured that their tweets, adventures and misadventures continue to trend on the social web. If you want to stay in the loop for news and events around the music, movie and fashion industries; or you have an ear for gossip and eye for mind-popping selfies; you will want to stay within the loop with lindaikeji, olorisupergal, BellaNaija, UnilagOlodo, Olufamous and Sturvs, 360nobs, @theBeatFM.
Celebrities like Don Jazzy, Whizkid, Omotola Jalade , BankyW, Davido, Tiwa Savage, MI, 2face, Omotola Jalade, Tonto Dikeh shock and entertain not just on stage, but online as well with agents and managers praying they do not end up creating a PR crises.
Najia’s Tech Scene
The Nigerian startup scene is making leaps and bounds. With news sites like the quartet of @Techloy, @Otekbits, @Tech360ng and @Techtalkafrica feeding Twitter with the latest happenings in the tech scene, there’s never a dull moment.
Several personalities rock the Nigerian tech scene with the likes of Simdul Shagaya, using his Twitter profile to support his online superstore, Konga. Gbenga Sesan continues to be at the forefront of ICT policy and governance issues while people like LordBanks, @Nubikay, @seyitaylor @SeunOsewa @Mukoshy, @JasonNjoku
Jokes, fun and diss
Several comedians are following the pace set by musicians. Did I mention the Gbagaun (english-blip) detectors; @GbagaunDetector , @GbagaunSpotter, @GbagaunMopol. They are the English police of Naija’s twitter community. God help you if your tweet a typo, because they are there to re-tweet it to the whole world. Leading comedians like Alibaba Akporobome, Basketmouth, Julius d’genius Agwu, Ay Comedian, SeyiLaw, Akpos Warri boy, Comedian Gordons Comedian Klint and the indefatigable Tatafoo all have considerable and engaging Twitter lives.
Life, Love and Business
The Nigerian Twittosphere has an array of personalities offering sage advice on everything from business to romance and religion. For business and inspirational tips the foremost brand consultant, Leke Alder is the handle to watch. Social media users seeking a bit of religion in their timelines seldom miss tweets from Rev. Chris Oyakilome, Sam Adeyemi and Taiwo Odukoya.
You won’t want to miss the creative jabs from new media writer and social critic Tolu Ogunlesi. If you ever get lost on the streets of Lagos, ask @Giditraffic though that Twitter handle has graduated to become Nigeria’s Twitter encyclopedia of all things.
A Numbers Game
Deola’s Picks were selected irrespective of follower count and based on the authors own assessment of popular tweeters who offer value to online discussion. However, according to two popular Twitter analytic platforms, Twitter Counter and Social Bakers, here is a list top 10 Nigerians with the highest number of Twitter followers;
- Rev Chris Oyakhilome – 1,313,171 Popular pastor and founder of the Believers’ Loveworld aka Christ Embassy is the most followed Nigerian in Twitter. The international pastor has used the channel to propagate the gospel and continues to use the handle to tweet to it’s huge following about Christ and His message.
- Wizkid Ayo Balogun – 908,736 Wizkid is a Nigerian recording artist who hit the Nigerian entertainment scene by storm. He rose to prominence through his hit track “Holla at Your Boy” and finds Twitter a useful channel to express his opinions and selfies.
- D’Banj Kokomaster – 743,303 Self styled ”Kokomaster and Banger Lee used to lead the pack until overtaken by the two above. His popularity hit a new curve when he kissed Mo Hits goodbye and went in search of World dominance. He seems to be having fun
- Donjazzy – 675,040 Like Messi and Ronaldo, DonJazzy and Dbanj are hardly ever separated; either in conversation or competition. Michael Collins Ajereh, aka Don Jazzy heralded a new phase in the Nigerian music industry with the Mo’ Hits record label. He is a multi award-winning producer, musician and the brain behind Marvin Records, founder after the label Mo’ Hits label was retired.
- 2faceidibia – 614,624 Innocent Ujah Idibia better known by his stage name 2face Idibia, 2face, Tuface, 2Baba or Tubaba. He is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and is generally accepted to be Nigeria’s most decorated and successful hip pop artist. He may not be a chatterbox on Twitter but there’s no doubt, Nigerians love him loads.
- BankyW – 621,935 Olubankole Wellington better known as Banky W is a celebrated Nigerian R&B artist, producer and founder of Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) record label, a platform where he raised Whizkid into stardom. He’s sometimes called Mr. Capable after his hit track.
- Davido – 586, 977 Davido is rocking the music scene since his huge breakthrough in 2011. His hit tracks have included ‘Dami Duro’ and ‘Skelewu’ which have continued to rule the airwaves.
- Victor Moses – 565,537 Victor Moses is a footballer who plays for Liverpool on loan from Chelsea. Moses can play in a variety of positions, but in the first-team games he has taken part in so far, Moses has mostly played as a winger.
- Tiwa Savage – 516,384 Tiwatope Savage Balogun is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and performer. She is presently signed to Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Mavin Records. Since coming back to Nigeria, she has gradually warmed her way into our hearts and Nigerians haven’t had enough.
- Genevive Nnaji – 487, 413 Genevieve Nnaji, MFR is one of Nigeria’s most popular female actresses. In 2005 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. CNN once referred to her as the “Julia Roberts of Africa”.
With Nigeria currently reaching a crescendo in politics, business and technology and with more Nigerians gaining access to these technologies Twitter will continue to come into the mainstream of information sharing… and the future is what no one can put a finger to presently.
Deola Kayode lives at the intersection of social culture, brand marketing and digital technology. He loves talking about brands, social media and politics. If you are always on, holla him on Twitter @delola. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org