Social media has become diplomacy’s significant other. It has gone from being an afterthought to being the very first thought of world leaders and governments across the globe, as audiences flock to their Twitter newsfeeds for the latest news and statements.
This worldwide embrace of online channels has brought with it a wave of openness and transparency that has never been experienced before. Social media provides a platform for unconditional communication, and has become a communicator’s most powerful tool. Twitter, in particular, has become a diplomatic barometer, a tool used to analyze and forecast international relations.
Twitter is the social media channel of choice for governments and foreign ministries, judging by the number of governments on the platform. Burson-Marsteller’s research team identified 856 Twitter accounts belonging to heads of state and government, and foreign ministers in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all UN member states, with a combined audience of 356 million followers. Days ago, Twiplomacy released the most followed world leaders on twitter. And here are the top ten among the others.
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) has become the most followed world leader with more than 33.7 million followers on his nine language accounts. His official accounts dispense daily thoughts and prayers in 140 characters in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.
U.S. President Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) is the second-most followed world leader, with 30.1 million followers on his personal Twitter account. He more than tripled the number of his followers during the election campaign in 2016. Since taking office on January 20, 2017, his account continues to grow at a rate of 5.7 percent per month. The third-most followed world leader is Indian Prime Minister @NarendraModi who has 30 million followers on his personal account and 18 million followers on his institutional account, @PMOIndia, which is in fourth place.
The official @POTUS Twitter account of the U.S. President and the @WhiteHouse accounts occupy the fifth and sixth rankings with 17.7 and 14.4 million followers, respectively. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) has more than 10 million followers and India’s Foreign Minister @SushmaSwaraj, Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates @HHShkMohd. Indonesian President @Jokowi complete the Top 10 list of the most followed leaders with more than seven million followers each.