A recent study gives interesting insight into how world leaders use social media.
As of 2013, 3 out of 4 top world leaders are on Twitter. All American and European governments have an official Twitter account and in Asia, one-fourth governments are yet to use Twitter.
President Obama is the most followed leader (over 33.5 million followers) in the middle of 2013. While the Turkish President is among the most followed 5 world leaders, Indian Prime Minister – political head of the second most populous nation – figures nowhere near the top.
Though these world leaders have a large number of followers, they hardly follow others. Obama follows only two other world leaders [but is followed by 148 world leaders]. When it comes to connecting with leaders from other nations, not many leaders – including foreign ministers – have significant mutual following.
Not many leaders seem to be personally tweeting or engaging on Twitter. Even when their accounts are being handled by an official teams, not many are ‘conversational’ enough. The report says, Ugandan Prime Minister is the most conversational, with 96% of his tweets being replied to. Small nations’ leaders seem to be more interactive on Twitter in general.
Many become uninterested after opening their Twitter accounts. Of the 505 accounts reported in the study, 405 are active accounts, 79 are dormant accounts and 17 are inactive accounts and have never sent a single tweet.
Indian Prime Minister @pmoindia
The report finds Indian PM’s account quite active, with 5 tweets a day. Among its other positives,the report cites that it is a good source of information as almost 95% of its tweets are retweeted. The report makes an interesting observation: Manmohan Singh has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to connect with his G20 peers in Brasília, Canberra, Moscow, London Ottawa, Tokyo and Washington on Twitter.
PMOIndia tweets are mostly retweeted and mentioned by government’s own Twitter handles such as DD News, PIB, I&B Ministry, Sam Pitroda [He is PM’s advisor] and Planning Commission. Engagement is extremely limited.
ITB’s additional observations: Even Shashi Tharoor, among the most active and popular of India’s Twitterati, seldom retweets and mentions PMOIndia! His party, the Indian National Congress, also ignores PMO tweets as far as its social media behaviour goes. The present backdrop – of Manmohan Singh’s photo as motif makes him look like his cutouts fixed in a field.
You may like to see ITB's earlier take on Indian politicians and Twitter.
You can see the full Twiplomacy report on twiplomacy-study-2013.
The chapter on India can be seen here: twiplomacy.com/...india