With 43.7 million followers, President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) leads the pack of world leaders now using Twitter to get their messages out. But Pope Francis (@Pontifex) holds the most influence.
According to the “Twiplomacy 2014 Study” released yesterday by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, more than two-thirds of all “heads of state and heads of government” have set up personal Twitter accounts since the social network launched in 2006.
Pope Francis, with 14 million-plus followers across nine different language accounts, is not only highly influential but second only to Obama for number of followers. The report named the pope the “most influential tweep” because he averages over 10,000 retweets for every tweet on his Spanish-language account and 6,462 on his English-language account. Spanish is the top language used by world leaders for tweeting, followed by English.
Leaders from the world’s most populous nations prove that population size does matter on the social network. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) has 5.07 million followers, and newcomer Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, (@narendramodi) has 5 million followers. As an institution, the White House (@WhiteHouse) tops the list with 4.98 million followers.
The two world leaders who interact the most with their followers are both in Africa: Uganda’s prime minister (@AmamaMbabazi) and Rwandan President Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame).
Not surprisingly, news trends can have a big impact on who’s listening to all those leadership tweets. The report noted that the foreign ministry of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s English-language account (PutinRF_Eng) have seen their followers surge since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
Still, when compared to celebrities like Katy Perry (@katyperry) with 54 million followers and Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) with 52.5 million followers, most world leaders and diplomats have a ways to go.