With Twitter the way that anyone can let anyone stay in touch with what anyone’s publicly sharing on Twitter, it’s interesting to see a new study on “Twiplomacy”, tracking the Twitter activities of world leaders and governments and uncovering the frequency of communications.
The study’s headline stats show that “just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis” from 125 countries, even though 45 of “the 264 accounts analysed” are the “personal accounts of heads of state and government”.
The survey and report was put together by PR firm Burson Marsteller, and is cleverly presented in the form of a dedicated website named after the report: Twitplomacy.
However every PR firm on the planet always has an agenda of some kind for putting anything out – they are there to handle relations with the public and the media in a way that PR firm and its clients ends up being beneficial for the company or companies in question most of the time, whether the agency itself and/or its clients.
So, whether this is designed to showcase BM’s skills, or help generate some positive publicity for Twitter, or subtly reference the UN, or for global leaders during tumultuous economic times by showcasing Twitter cred – while exposing a sudden ending of new tweets following the successful elections of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and French President Francois Hollande – it is designed to get global attention, and that it certainly has.
Headline stats include the those about US President Barack Obama, whose @BarackObama twitter handle (which is run by the Obama campaign office) has 17.8 million follows, but that President Obama himself rarely tweets personally, with one of note being last Valentine’s Day to First Lady Michelle Obama.
However, it’s EU President Herman van Rompuy (@euHvR) who is “is the best connected world leader with 11 mutual follows”, with No.2 most connected world leader (to other world leaders) being the Australian Prime Minister @JuliaGillard.
PM Gillard doesn’t make it onto The Moscow Times list of “The Most Popular Tweeting Leaders”, a list which shows how vastly more Tweet-connected Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev is compared to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Many of the government accounts were reported as automated news tweeting systems, although many accounts are run by individuals and staff, with the 264 Twitter accounts analysed having just a touch under 52 million followers – as of the 1st of July this year.
While @BarackObama enjoys No.1 status for popularity among the 264 other world leader or government Twitter accounts, the US President is only fifth in the general Twitterverse for followers, behind 4th place getting @britneyspears.
That said, the study notes how “few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections”, with half of the world leader accounts not following any of their peers, with only a quarter of the much larger pool of world leader accounts and government accounts following the @barackobama account.
However, I’d imagine it would be relatively easy for world leaders to talk to each other in many other ways than via Twitter if so desired, and due to the sensitivity of such communications for some of the participants, it’s probably no great surprise that communications moves aren’t broadcast in any detail – or at all – on Twitter – even though this is supposed to be the Age of Twiplomacy with presumably suitable numbers of Twiplomats and Twiplocrats.
For more information on the entire Twipocracy, visit the Twiplomacy.com site!