People who don't know what Mandela looked like were responsible for 8% of tweets about his death

Analysis in the wake of Nelson Mandela's death shows that a third of all tweets about the former South African president spoke about the need to continue his legacy

Many people often turn to the virtual world of social media when a momentous occasion occurs in the real world. They share their grief and their sorrow – and they also celebrate their achievements.

The death of arguably one of the greatest statesman of our time, on 5 December, triggered a similar reaction and this is clear from data collected by a social data research company. 5W Consulting found that seven million tweets were sent about Nelson Mandela between 3 and 8 December and they analysed them to find out what people were saying.

Here's the data:


The revelation is quite stunning: amongst a great number of commemorative tweets about his death, at least 8% of all tweets (560,000) involved users ridiculing others for confusing his picture with that of famous actors.

This came after a number of users confused Nelson Mandela and Morgan Freeman, likely due to Freeman's appearance in Invictus, a film that focussed on how Mandela united a post-apartheid South Africa behind the Springboks' triumphant run at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

But the majority of tweets – over 50% – paid respect to Mandela in one form or another, whether it was through sharing an inspiring story or quote, talking about the lessons the world should learn or even a brief "RIP" tweet.

• Guardian readers share their memories and tributes to Nelson Mandela.

Powered by article was written by Siraj Datoo, for on Monday 16th December 2013 09.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © South Africa The Good News