As a relative newcomer to the world of social media and high-end Internet content, South Africa’s corner of the social media market has been steadily growing over the last few years, with international giants such as Facebook and Twitter battling it out over the local user base with local social networks like Mxit and 2Go. In 2014, the social media landscape in South Africa looks considerably different to how it looked just five years ago. In the 2014 SA Social Media Landscape research study, Facebook has shown considerable growth in the country, picking up 50% from where it was last year. Now at around 9.4 million active monthly users, up from around 6.8 million last year, Facebook has officially overtaken popular South African social service, which retains just over 6 million active users, as it has been struggling to keep up with the flooding of the market provided by Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Twitter has shown the biggest increase in the country over the last year, growing 129% from 2.4 million to 5.5 million monthly users. One of the most interesting facts about the state of South African social media is that most of the social media access seen comes from mobile platforms. 87% and 85% of Facebook and Twitter users respectively, in South Africa, access these sites from their phones (but not necessarily exclusively – there is still desktop usage among these). Google+, which is struggling to overtake the giants like Facebook and Twitter globally, is also lagging behind in South Africa, with just under 500 000 active users. Instagram, a popular photo sharing platform has around 700 000 active users in SA. South Africa’s corporate social media landscape also showed significant improvement, and statistics from the study show that around 93% of major local brands use Facebook for marketing and branding purposes, while just over 50% use Twitter in the same regard, and other forms of social media less than that, but there is still awareness that social media is useful in this regard. Over 54% of local brands that make use of social media in this way do so by way of in house marketing teams, while 16% use third party products and services, and 9% use dedicated public relations teams. Considering that much of South Africa has yet to switch over to high-speed Internet access, these statistics will surely increase as the decade progresses. Many of the leading social networks are bound to change, but the sentiment of online access and social networks will surely increase and remain important for both personal and business use over the next few years. By Wesley Geyer