There is no doubt that much has changed since the Crowning of Norma Vorster as the first ever Miss SA in 1956. We don’t just mean in terms of hairstyles, clothing and how the pageant is run, but in terms of the amount of exposure the pageant is able to achieve owing to the Digital Age in which we live.
We wanted to know what sort of role digital and social media plays in the outcome and exposure of the pageant. How has digital affected the evolution of the pageant and what are the positive and negative implications that come with that. We did some online tracking of the Miss South Africa Pageant 2014 through the use of our amazing tool Tracx to see if we could answer some of these questions.
We are not sure if you are aware, but there was no crowning of a 2013 Miss South Africa as they wanted to re-brand the pageant to make it more relevant to today’s society. Melinda Bam (Miss SA 2011) who is now the National Executive of Miss South Africa stated: “We will undertake new projects and re-brand Miss South Africa in a way that makes it relatable to the public again, engage the public to grow a new sentiment around the brand and take Miss South Africa back to the people,”.
With there being 14 million people in South Africa with access to the internet and 10 million people in South Africa using smartphones, which also have internet access, Social Media seems to be the ideal way to do that. The Miss SA Facebook page has 148 695 likes, the Twitter page has 30 000 followers, Instagram has 569 followers, there are 234 subscribers on YouTube and just 8 people have Miss SA in their circles on Google+. From this it is clear that people have taken to the top two Social Platforms in SA in order to connect with Miss SA online. When we have a look at the activity breakdown of the social platforms used we are able to see that in relation to the number of fans they have per each platform, the numbers appear to align. Facebook is clearly the ‘go to’ online platform to find out what has been happening with Miss SA.
All of the 12 finalists who will participate in the show on Sunday, 30th March 2014 have a Twitter Page and Facebook Page which they have dedicated to their Miss SA journey. If we take a look who is the top influencer online when comparing all of the ladies online efforts, we can see that Matlala Mokoko has the most influence, with Rolene Strauss having the second most influence.
If we have a look at how much each girl is posting on their specific pages, we can see that Matlala Mokoko is posting a great deal more than any of the other girls, hence why she marked at the top influencer out of the 12 contestants.
But what does this mean? Clearly it means that Matlala is making use of the social media tools that she has to promote herself and this gain support online. Her top engaged post over the last 30 days (below) had 175 unique people interact with it. We looked at Matala’s engagement level, which currently stands at 52% (which means that 52% of her posts are converting into conversations). This means that people are interacting with her posts and must find what she is posting appealing. This in turn generates support.
The most engaged with post out of all of the contestants however belongs to Rolene Strauss who achieved 264 interactions made by 252 unique people.
However, the question that we want to know is: Just because some of the contestants have a strong presence online, does it increase their chances of winning the pageant? Do the judges (who are active on Social Media) take into account their online statistics and support that has been shown online? Or, is the point of each lady having social media just a way to further the reach of the Miss SA Pageant as a whole? What do you think?
Also, how has interacting with so many people online affected the lives of the contestants? We have searched and searched and could not find anything negative written about any of the contestants online. Does this mean that in order to participate in a pageant such as this in this day and age, that you have to have a squeaky clean online record? We wonder if any of the contestants have received hurtful or unsupportive messages through their online channels?
These contestants have opened themselves up to the public and have made themselves vulnerable to the scrutiny of the public. People are able to publicly compare them to each other. Does this social media aspect of the Miss SA pageant turn the contestants into statistics or should we remember that they are actually humans behind those posts and tweets?
We would love your input on the Miss SA Pageant. How do you feel about it? Who is your favourite contestant and why? What do you think about the role digital has played?