75pc of world leaders have presence on Twitter – think tank

2 Jan 2013

Three out of four heads of state now have a presence on microblogging site Twitter, an international and non-partisan ‘think tank’ on 21st-century governance has revealed.

The Digital Policy Council (DPC), the research and public advocacy arm of strategic consultancy Digital Daya, has released its 2012 ranking report on the use of social media by heads of state.

The DPC’s latest research shows a compound annual growth rate of 93pc in world leaders joining Twitter since early 2010, reflecting a near doubling every year of heads of state on Twitter as they employ the social medium to engage with the public and build influence.

Analyses as of December 2012 reveal that 75pc, or three out of four heads of state, have a Twitter presence.

A total of 123 world leaders out of 164 countries have Twitter accounts set up in their personal names or through an official government office. The new figures represent a 78pc rise in the number of heads of state and national governments on Twitter from the third quarter of 2011.

“We expect Twitter will become a de facto communication tool for nearly all heads of state in 2013,” said Omar Hijazi, managing partner at Digital Daya.

“With a more emboldened and connected society, world leaders are recognising, now more than ever, that the options for communicating with their electorate have been permanently redefined.”

Latin America, Middle East and women claim top 10

In 2012, US President Barack Obama again maintained the top spot of all world leaders, with 24m followers, drawing 15m followers in one year and exceeding President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in the No 2 spot by 20m followers.

Chavez, along with four other Latin American leaders, made up 50pc of the top 10, including newcomers President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nietoin.

Women leaders, Queen Rania of Jordan, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner, claimed three spots in the top 10 in 2012, capturing collectively more than 5.5m followers.

Two other world leaders from the Middle East joined the Queen of Jordan: President Abdullah Gul of Turkey, who increased his following by more than 2m people and an enduring member of the top 10, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who grew his followers by nearly 1m in a single year.

Twitter homepage image via 1000 Words/Shutterstock.com

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic