Last updated: 14:03 / Thursday, 1 August 2013
By Burson-Marsteller

Two-Thirds of World Leaders Are Engaged in Diplomatic Relations on Twitter

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Two-Thirds of World Leaders Are Engaged in Diplomatic Relations on Twitter
  • US President @BarackObama is still the most followed world leader on Twitter with more than 33 million followers.
  • The Pope (@Pontifex) has become the second most followed world leader with more than 7 million followers on his nine different accounts.
  • The @Pontifex account has seen phenomenal Twitter growth over the past six months as have the accounts of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono @SBYudhoyono and Venezuela's President @NicolasMaduro

Burson-Marsteller released “Twiplomacy” an annual global study of world leaders on Twitter. The study shows that more than three-quarters (77.7%) of world leaders have a Twitter account and two-thirds (68%) have made mutual connections with their peers.

“Twiplomacy” is the leading research of its kind, aimed at identifying to what extent world leaders use Twitter. In early July 2013 Burson-Marsteller analyzed 505 government accounts in 153 countries.

The findings indicate that US President @BarackObama is still the most followed world leader on Twitter with more than 33 million followers. However, while almost a third (148) of all world leaders and governments are following Barack Obama he is not the best connected leader. @BarackObama only mutually follows two other world leaders - Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

The Pope (@Pontifex) has become the second most followed world leader with more than 7 million followers on his nine different accounts. Although Pope Francis does not engage with other Twitter users, especially his Spanish tweets are retweeted on average more than 11,000 times, making him the most influential world leader on Twitter. In comparison @BarackObama’s tweets are only retweeted on average 2,309 times despite his massive following.

Swedish Foreign Minister @CarlBildt is the best connected world leader mutually following 44 peers. 

“This study illustrates how Twitter and social media in general have become part and parcel of any integrated government communications”, said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa. “While Twitter is certainly not the only channel of communication and will not replace face-to-face meetings, it allows for direct peer-to-peer interaction. I expect we will see an increasing number of corporations and CEOs also embracing the new tools that are connecting our world leaders”, he said.

On the other hand Ugandan Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader with 96% of his tweets being @replies to other Twitter users. 

The study found that Twitter has become a formidable broadcasting tool for world leaders. Although not being conversational, the @Pontifex account has seen phenomenal Twitter growth over the past six months as have the accounts of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono @SBYudhoyono and Venezuela's President @NicolasMaduro who both signed up to Twitter in March 2013 and now rank among the top 20 most followed world leaders. 

There are 227 personal accounts and 76 world leaders tweet personally albeit many only occasionally. Seven of the G8 leaders have a personal Twitter account and all but one of the G20 governments have an official Twitter presence.

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