Heads of State and Twitter

Heads of states and governments of at least 125 countries and the EU are represented on Twitter, but very few leaders tweet regularly and tend to use it more as a pre-election engagement tool

Published: Aug 25, 2012 06:31:09 AM IST
Updated: Aug 25, 2012 09:22:28 AM IST
Heads of State and Twitter
Image: Sameer Pawar

North America
US President Barack Obama, who was the first world leader to get on Twitter in March 2007, is also the most popular politician on the micro-blogging site with more than 17 million followers. But he ranks fifth on the overall list, right after Britney Spears.

South America
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the second-most followed politician on Twitter with over three million followers. Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s President-elect, was the second world leader after Obama to log on to Twitter.

The PM of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi, is the most conversational world leader on Twitter with 96% of his tweets being @replies to questions from his followers. Rwandan President Paul Kagame is also an avid user, frequently chatting with his followers on the site.

China and Indonesia are among the Asian countries that do not have their heads of state or government on Twitter. Indian PM Manmohan Singh, who is the latest G20 leader to join the site in January 2012, has a little over one million followers. Malaysian PM Najib Razak had invited his 500,000th follower for breakfast.

Germany and Italy are the only two G8 countries in Europe where neither the head of state nor the government is on Twitter. @BarackObama has established mutual Twitter relations with only the PMs of Norway and Russia, Jens Stoltenberg and Dmitry Medvedev, respectively. Vatican City’s social media project @Pope2YouVatican, set up to accompany the beatification of Pope John Paul II, has had over 27,000 followers.  

Only 4 of the 14 countries in Oceania are on Twitter. With 10 mutual connections with world politicians, Australian Prime Minister @JuliaGillard is the second-most connected leader after EU president Herman van Rompuy (11 connections).

“Twiplomacy” is a study of the use of Twitter by world leaders conducted by global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller

*Percentage of world leaders represented on Twitter

(This story appears in the 31 August, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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