World leaders taking Twitter by storm

If you thought Twitter was reserved only for celebrities, socialites or sport stars, think again.
A new study, conducted by communications firm Burson-Marsteller, has revealed that a whopping 77.7% of the 193 UN member countries have quite a presence on the popular social networking site.
The company has dubbed the study “œTwiplomacy“ and explains it as “˜the study of the use of Twitter by world leaders‘.
Surprisingly enough, almost half of the 505 accounts that were analysed are personal accounts of VIP‘s like heads of state, heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs.
And what is even more intriguing; a third of these VIP‘s own and operate their account themselves – which means the tweets we read are truly by them and not their PR team.
Furthermore, the study found that 405 of the accounts studied are active, 17 are inactive accounts that have never tweeted anything, 79 are dormant and 4 are protected.
It should come as no surprise that Barack Obama is followed by a quarter of the world leaders and governments on Twitter – but it seems the American president and the White House only have Twitter relations with four other world leaders.
President Obama was also the first world leader to sign up to Twitter on 5 March 2007.
@BarackObama should think about upping his Twitter presence and follow back (maybe on a #FF follow Friday?) The top spot for best connected world leader goes to Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt (@CarlBildt)
Mr.Bildt mutually follows 44 of his peers.
Another world leader that is certainly enjoying his time on Twitter, is Ugandan Prime Minister, Amama Mbabzi (@AmamaMbabazi). He seems to be the most controversial world leader on Twitter, considering a staggering 96% of his tweets are @replies to other Twitter users.
Closer to home, president Jacob Zuma is not as “˜Twitter-happy‘ as some of his peers.
South Africa’s president has tweeted less than 100 times, and out of these 100, the tweets were mostly posted from an iPhone on the go.
It is also interesting to note that the president‘s account was mostly silent between May 2012 and April 2013. Guess nothing interesting was happening over at the Union Buildings, then.
Zuma is followed by 22 other world leaders, but, like Obama, isn‘t a fan of #followback.
As some expected, African leaders are amongst the most controversial on Twitter, and more than two thirds of African governments have a substantial presence on the social networking site.
It is also interesting to note that the 60 Spanish language accounts are the most prominent – they have sent 342,121 tweets to 18,158,992 followers.
When it comes to other languages, 44 accounts tweet in French, 38 in Arabic, 14 in Russian, 12 in Portugese and 8 in German, Italian and Croatian.
Many governments automate their Facebook page and websites to their Twitter account, thus providing a constant flow of information and updates to their followers.
World leaders have an incredible amount of followers on Twitter, with the study revealing that the 505 accounts have a combined following of 105,733,356 followers – beating out Lady Gaga and The Biebs!
So, if you are an avid social media user and would like to keep up to date on current affairs within your government, find your president/minister/queen and follow them – you never know, you might get a RT.