Bangalore, 2015: Narendra Modi joined Twitter on 10 January 2009 and since his election in May 2014 the prime minister has made digital communications one of his key priorities. The Indian President also joined Twitter in July 2014 and many of the government ministers now have personal Twitter accounts. The @IndianDiplomacy social media footprint is the most impressive with @SushmaSwaraj being the most followed foreign minister and they seem to have a dedicated army of retweeters.
Media specialist Burson-Marsteller has released the latest edition of its Twiplomacy study which shows that Twitter has become the social media channel of choice for world leaders to reach large audiences with key messages and soundbites. Twiplomacy aims to identify the extent to which world leaders use Twitter and how they connect on the social network.
The study analyzed 669 government accounts in 166 countries and revealed that 86 percent of all 193 United Nations (UN) governments have a presence on Twitter. One hundred and seventy-two heads of state and government have personal Twitter accounts and only 27 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia-Pacific, do not have any Twitter presence.
“The Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy Study has become an essential gauge of the power and reach of social media,” said Donald A. Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “This fourth annual Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy Study provides critically valuable insights about the communications practices and needs of leaders around the world.”
As of 24 March 2015, the five most followed world leaders were U.S. President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) (57 million followers of the U.S. president’s campaign account), Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 20 million followers on his nine different language accounts, India’s Prime Minister@NarendraModi, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) and the @WhiteHouse.However, the most followed world leaders follow few other peers, and they are hardly conversational.@BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse only follow four other world leaders, namely Norway’s Erna Solberg, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, the UK government and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Keit Pentus.
While @BarackObama is the most followed world leader, he is also dwarfed in terms of retweets per tweet by Pope Francis who averages almost 10,000 retweets for each tweet sent on his Spanish account, against 1,210 for each tweet sent by @BarackObama.
It is impossible to say whether governments pay to promote the accounts of their leaders but we have seen an interesting pattern on the @IndianDiplomacy and the @MEAIndia accounts whose tweets are automatically retweeted by an army of 90 tweeps who all follow each other and whose sole purpose is to retweet the tweets from @IndianDiplomacy, @MEAIndia and @TOIIndiaNews, three accounts listed on each of their public Twitter list, aptly entitled “RT”. Thanks to their dedicated action the tweets of @IndianDiplomacy and @MEAIndia are consistently retweeted 100 times but rarely favourited.
See Our Image of the Day for some infographics
To access the complete analysis of these findings, visit: http://twiplomacy.com