His energetic courtroom style and merciless grilling of the prosecution’s witnesses has turned Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius’ defence attorney, into a social media star.
Data thrown up by Salesforce Radian6, a social media monitoring tool used by 25AM, has shown that Roux has been mentioned in nearly four times as many social media posts as state prosecutor Gerrie Nel since the start of the trial.
“The mentions of Roux were among nearly 900 000 Oscar Pistorius-related social posts recorded across Twitter, Facebook and in comments on news sites during this timeframe,” says Gordon Geldenhuys, head of online reputation management at 25AM. Interest in the trial peaked on 3 March, when Pistorius pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.
“The Oscar Pistorius trial illustrates how hungry the public has become for real-time news and information, as well as how information spreads virally,” says Geldenhuys. “It’s interesting to see how mainstream media dominates the conversation about this trial, largely because journalists have access to the courtroom where the case is unfolding.”
Interest has subsided somewhat since then, though the trial remains one of the most talked-about topics in social media. The US is the country that is generating the most social chatter about the Oscar Pistorius trial, followed by South Africa, the UK, Greece, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands.
The most commonly used hashtags on Twitter – the channel that is dominating social posts about the trial – are #oscartrial, #oscarpistorius, #pistorius, #news, and #sabcnews. The most commonly mentioned Twitter usernames in order were: @encanews, @oscartrial199, @oscarpistorius (the accused’s official Twitter account), @paddypower, @ann7tv, @marykevermaak, @guardian, @barrybateman, @debra_patta, and @bbcandrewh.
Unsurprisingly, most of these user names belong to journalists covering the trial, with some like Barry Bateman (174 000 followers) amassing a huge amount of local and international followers with their coverage.
One anomaly is Paddy Power (@paddypower), a sports betting company in the UK offering punters odds on whether Oscar Pistorius will be found guilty or not. Controversially, it offered money back to anyone who bet on the outcome of the trial in a TV advert that became one of the most complained about ever in the UK.