Within 10 minutes after the quake, there had been 738 tweets posted by South Africans on Twitter, according to Lightstone Consumer, a provider of comprehensive data and analytics.
Lightstone Consumer had loaded a search of social media relating to the earthquake minutes after the event.
The company’s head of social insights Robin Meisel said within the first minute, there had been 40 tweets posted by South Africans about the quake.
“Just over a minute later, the first tweet was published about the fact. Gary Meyer (@GaryMeyerZA) tweeted at 12.23.38pm,” said Meisel.
“Within the first ten minutes seven international seismic monitoring twitter accounts placed their tweets over the epicentre of the earthquake. Two tweets were made from Stokkiesdraai Street in Orkney.”
Gotta love South Africans. In case of #earthquake:
1. tweet about it
2. retweet your friends
3. update your status
4. consider where to run
— Brent Ellis (@brent_polestar) August 5, 2014
The United States Geological Survey said the tremor was a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, according to the SA Press Association.
The Council for Geosciences in South Africa later confirmed that the earthquake measured 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.
The quake, which was felt in parts of the country including Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, claimed the life of a homeless man, who was found under rubble at an abandoned mining village in Orkney in the North West.
Tremors had been felt in Botswana and Swaziland, and as far as Mozambique.
Meisel said within fifteen minutes following the quake, updates had started to come from all over the country.
“The information was even being retweeted from as far afield as Cape Town,” he said.
“At close of business on Tuesday, there had already been 12 000 mentions of the earthquake.”
Meanwhile, the minerals department has requested mining companies operating in the Free State, Carletonville, Rustenburg and Klerksdorp to inspect conditions underground in order to ensure the safety of employees following the earthquake.
Chief mine inspector David Msiza said these areas had been among the worst affected by the earthquake.
“The affected companies must ensure that there are no employees still trapped underground,” said Msiza.
Twitter users were quick to look at the lighter side of the events as well.
— Michael Jackson (@the_other_mj) August 5, 2014
— Job Mail (@jobmail) August 5, 2014
— Ian Bredenkamp (@IanBredenkamp) August 5, 2014