Global Citizen sets SA’s social media pulse racing


Global Citizen sets SA’s social media pulse racing

A social media analysis found that discussion around the ill-fated Global Citizen festival grew by 500% an hour


The biggest good news story of the year turned bad the minute people started to leave FNB Stadium in Johannesburg after the Global Citizen concert a week ago.
And almost immediately after news of muggings, attacks and traffic chaos began to emerge, social media started to focus on the negative. Conversations under the hashtag #GlobalCitizenFestival grew by more than 500% hour by hour.
Acumen Media’s analysis of the week’s trending topics on social media revealed that 62.7% of those talking about the festival expressed joy and praised the #MotsepeFoundation for such a monumental undertaking.
However, the remainder were afraid, disgusted, angry, sad and surprised after several concert-goers were attacked and mugged at an arranged pick-up area outside a Sasol garage, about 1km from the stadium.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that the blame has been squarely placed on the Johannesburg Metro Police Department for not adhering to traffic plans. As a result, the newspaper reported, there was overcrowding, gridlocked traffic and people left stranded as easy prey for criminals.
“Focus shifted from organisers of the event to the South African Police Service, and social media let rip. The televised interview with police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo left South Africa astonished at the level of arrogance, and begged the question, if SAPS is not in charge of the nation’s safety, who is?” social media analyst Tonya Khoury told Times Select.
Police minister Bheki Cele restored social media calm when he admitted that the police should have responded “better” to help stranded concert-goers. However, not everyone was convinced.
“Social media highlighted that the tsotsis found a loophole, a big one, and the level of fear climbed not just in relation to this event, but to future events too,” Khoury said.
Linked to the aftermath of the festival, Uber also took a knock on social media this week.
“#Uber came under fire for increasing their prices when people were in trouble. #UberPark and the chaos that ensued there made a big impact on the brand,” Khoury said.
Beyond the concert, Khoury’s analysis also found that schedule power cuts, under the of name “load shedding”, dominated conversation. Eskom-related topics dominated 13.7% of social media discussion, second only to Global Citizen (32.9%).

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