Twitter Political Heads of State

Share this post:

I tweeted recently about the state of the Twitter business as far as Heads of State were concerned.  With the arrival of new kid on the block, Hugo Chavez (you rebel, you) and the upcoming general election in the UK, I feel that the topic is hot!

As of today, below is the hit parade ranked by the number of followers.  I have put the handle that each has decided to use as well the number of accounts they are following, the last time they tweeted and the total number of tweets.  If I were to be a bit more methodical I might have put their starting date (initiation to Twitter), however, then I might need to put down when they started their reign, etc., and then we’re getting into some silly algorithms.

Here are the five main considerations I have about this list of 18 different heads of state on Twitter.

  1. In terms of following strategies, there are basically three approaches: follow a lot, follow no one or follow 1 in every 4.  The average of the 18 accounts is that a head of state follows a number that is 16.1% of its followees.  The vast majority are in the follow no-one camp.
  2. I can’t comment on the quality of the tweets in each case because of the language constraints, but there is quite a variety of tweeting styles (or should I say counsels!).  You will see a range going from PM Rudd is so personal as recount what he has eaten recently, to Queen Rania using the “2” for “to”, and Sheik Mohammed who uses quite a nice combination of personal and official tweets.  Many include a link each time.  Others include words of emotion and feelings.  Others are just non existent (why not just shut it down then!).
  3. What is with Prime Minister Gordon Brown (DowningStreet) and President Nicolas Sarkozy (Elysée) using their address as their handle? [Arroyo (PresidentGMA) is not much better.]  Delusions of grandeur? Designs to rob future dignitaries of THE handle?  For Brown’s ongoing (outgoing?) political presence post-May 6th, I suppose he will have to start all over again (not that there really is a life after having been head of state/prime minister?).
  4. Half of the leaders have stayed absolutely current (tweeted today). I note that in the run up to d-day for Gordon Brown that he has stopped using it since 20th April… is it that he no longer considers it a vital part of his marketing mix at crunch time?  The number of tweets compared to the number of followers is an interesting stat.  With Brown’s prolific tweeting up until his last tweet, he theoretically hit 3.2 billion sets of eyeballs (tweets x followers) versus 2.6 billion for Obama. What is for sure is that it is not about the quantity of tweets, nor the absolute quantity of followers that truly count, but what is going on behind in terms of RTs and engagement, etc.
  5. Where are Merkel and Putin? (Medvedev who?)
Handle Name Followers Following Last tweet # of Tweets
barackobama* Barack Obama 3,858,383 729,056 4/5/10 685
downingstreet* Gordon Brown (UK) 1,737,390 478,224 20/4/10 1848
QueenRania* Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan) 1,271,204 57 Today 368
KevinRuddPM* Kevin Rudd (Australia) 920,087 202,143 Today 619
hatoyamayukio* Yukio Hatoyama (Japan) 574,527 105,507 Today 152
HHSHKMOHD* Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum (UAE) 335,122 41 26/3/10 314
Chavezcandanga* Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) 204,469 5 Today 18
sebastianpinera* Sebastian Piñera (Chile) 91,376 23,373 24/4/10 817
PMHarper* Stephen Harper (Canada) 50,902 12760 2/5/10 248
JensStoltenberg Jens Stoltenberg (Norway) 28,362 25,138 Today 303
reflexionfidel Fidel Castro (Cuba) 20,056 15 30/4/10 115
NajibRazak Najib Abdul Razak (Malaysia) 16,181 25 Today 893
JohnKeyPM John Key (NZ) 9,155 884 4/5/10 385
Larsloekke Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Denmark) 5,302 2,749 Today 190
Netanyahu* Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel) 3,688 418 Today 388
PresidentGMA Gloria Arroyo (Philippines) 2,706 84 11/7/09 33
Elysee* Nicolas Sarkozy (France) 2,332 0 23/4/10 6
VDombrovskis Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia) 2,303 72 25/4/10 90

* officially verified by Twitter.

Twitter’s recent numbers as announced at CHIRP speak of the wildfire contagion (180 million unique visitors per month; 300,000 new users per day…).  Its use in Iran and in natural disasters and emergencies has given the service a bit more “weight.”  However, in businesses especially on mainland Europe (below Holland), it remains a hot potato.  Surely when the political leader takes it on board and finds a good angle and voice, it helps catapult Twitter to the fore and “authorise” business leaders to go down the route of being personality-bosses.  Until or if Sarkozy decides to use Twitter (why not under his own name, too?), is France going to stay rear-guard on Twitter?  Ironically, “France” is 21st on the list of hot topics twittering around the world, though perhaps not yet for the French (only 127K French Twitters or 0.2% versus 63% awareness!).

So, anyone want to make any predictions for a year from now?  Will the installed political leaders be using more or less of Twitter than they are today?

—Update (30 Oct 2010): Was sent a mail this week by Nathan Grimm, from Guide to Online Schools, telling me of Dictators’ widget that allows you to track the twitter feed of the world’s top three dictators (Chavez, Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro).  He has created a widget that you can upload on to your site…

One Comment, RSS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter

Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter

for exclusive content, insights and eye-opening videos. My promise is to stimulate, educate and entertain. I'll also give an overview of the latest content and alerts about upcoming events at which I will be speaking. You can always find my books on Amazon, including my latest book on leadership, You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader by Kogan Page.

Thank you! You have successfully subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest