Twitter, the 140 character social network, is not about having millions of followers but it is also about connecting, informing and acknowledging them. But most of the world leaders don’t seem to connect with their followers and only use the channel as a broadcasting medium.
According to Twiplomacy 2013, a study of the use of Twitter by world leaders conducted by global PR firm Burson-Marsteller, has concluded that most of these Twitter accounts which are handled by official staff rarely make personal tweets or connect with their followers in any meaningful way, first reported by TOI,.
For the study Burson-Marsteller identified Twitter accounts of 505 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 153 countries worldwide. The study analyzed each leader’s Twitter profiles, tweet history, and their connections with each other. Data used was taken in July 2013 using Twitonomy and more than 50 variables were considered such as tweets/day, retweets, % of retweets, user @mentions, etc.
How global leaders are connecting on Twitter?
The study highlighted the fact that the governments of more than three-quarters (77.7%) of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter: Almost half of the 505 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state, heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs; a third of these world leaders tweet themselves, but very few on a regular basis.
U.S. President @BarackObama is still the most followed world leader on Twitter with 33,510,157 followers as of 1 July 2013 and is the fourth most popular account in the Twitterverse followed by Pope Francis with 7,200,332 followers on his nine different @Pontifex accounts.
Despite having the most popular tweet ever, retweeted 806,066 times, the US president is still not the most influential leader on Twitter unlike the Pope Francis.
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
The report also highlighted that Twitter has become a formidable communication tool for the leaders and two-thirds (68%) of world leaders have made mutual connections with their peers.
Swedish Foreign Minister @CarlBildt is the best connected world leader, mutually following 44 peers. Ugandan Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader with 96% of his tweets being @replies to other Twitter users.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also comes third with his @fragaCarlBildt “Ask-Carl-Bildt” account, which is exclusively used for Twitter chats. On his Swedish account (@cbildt) Carl Bildt is also replying to other Twitter users in every second tweet.
1. Barack Obama is the most listed world leader appearing on 195,304 Twitter lists.
2. Barack Obama was the first world leader to sign up to Twitter on 5 March 2007 as user #813,286.
3. The Venezuelan presidency @PresidencialVen has sent more than 34,000 tweets averaging more than 40 tweets each day.
4. World leaders tweet in 48 different languages. One hundred seventy-six English language accounts have sent 316,728 tweets to a combined following of 52,617,262 followers.
5. 405 are active accounts, 79 are dormant accounts, 17 are inactive accounts and have never sent a single tweet and four are protected accounts.
6. World leaders have not taken advantage of Twitter’s design yet. Almost half of the world leaders use Twitter’s website to tweet.
How are Asian Governments and @PMOIndia doing?
Most of the Asian governments use Twitter as a news feed, automatically tweeting updates from their official websites or Facebook pages. Nearly three-quarters of governments in Asia are active on Twitter. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Khaled A. Al Sabah is the most conversational Asian leader with 71% of his tweets being @replies and Israel’s Foreign Ministry is the best connected Foreign Service with 32 mutual Twitter peer connections.
Our PM – Dr. Manmohan Singh has an official presence on Twitter from late January 2012. The account is managed by the PMO’s Office with almost 5 tweets a day.
The tweets are mainly government news and announcements, quotes from statements made by the prime minister and what is “happening now” at the Prime Minister’s Office.
It comes as no surprise that the engagement on the PMO Twitter account is extremely limited. Only 1% of his tweets are @replies and 5% retweets. The account has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to connect with his G20 peers in Brasília, Canberra, Moscow, London Ottawa, Tokyo and Washington on Twitter.
However, the account is considered a great source of information as almost 95% of the tweets have been retweeted.
In comparison to the PMO Twitter account, The Public Diplomacy Division of Ministry of External Affairs Twitter account – @IndianDiplomacy has been doing well.
With over three tweets a day @IndianDiplomacy shares content about key political and economic issues, culture, art and sport, including numerous videos from the ministry of foreign affairs YouTube channel and live-tweeting from events like the BCIM Car Rally 2013.
The Public Diplomacy Division engages with other users; 40% of the tweets are retweets and 7% are direct @replies.
Twitter is not that hard to crack only if one is open and reachable. It is good to see leaders from nations like Sweeden and Uganda doing really well. And for @PMOIndia it can take some quick tips from @IndianDiplomacy if it thinks so.