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Top 10 heads of state, by number of Twitter followers

Posting in Government

Are 140-character blasts enough out of our world's leaders? Apparently this is now the case for three out of four heads of state, who are now Twitter users, almost double the number from two years ago.

That's the conclusion drawn in a new report by The Digital Policy Council (DPC), which found that as of December 2012, 75%, or three out of four heads of state, were Twitter users.

A total of 123 world leaders out of 164 countries had accounts on Twitter set up in their personal name or through an official government office, DPC reports.  In 2011, the research group adds, only 69 out of 164 countries had embraced Twitter. The new figures represent a 78% increase in the number of heads of state and national governments on Twitter from 2011.

Twitter is proving to be a tool of interactive communication, as well as a vehicle of revolution. "As digital activism becomes more intensified, it is often seen as a threat to governments," the report states.

Indeed, Twitter was one of the primary networks used by pro-democracy advocates in the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Established political leaders are also discovering the power of Twitter -- there "has been the steady increase in the number of heads of state that are using Twitter, and recognizing the benefits of the vehicle to allow for direct interaction with constituents," DPC says.

The top 10 leaders using Twitter over the past year include the following (Twitter handles included):

  1. Barack Obama, president, United States, 24.6 million followers, @BarackObama
  2. Hugo Chavez, president, Venezuela, 3.8 million followers, @chavezcandanga
  3. Abdullah Gul, president, Turkey, 2.6 million followers, @cbabdullahgul
  4. Queen Rania, Jordan, 2.5 million followers, @QueenRania
  5. Dmitry Medvedev, president, Russia, 2 million followers, @MedvedevRussia
  6. Dilma Rouseff, president, Brazil, 1.8 million followers, @dilmabr
  7. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, president, Argentina, 1.5 million followers, @CFKArgentina
  8. Juan Manuel Santos, president, Columbia, 1.5 million followers, @JuanManSantos
  9. Enrique Peña Nietoin, president, Mexico, 1.4 million followers, @EPN
  10. Sheikh Mohammed, prime minister,  United Arab Emirates, 1.3 million followers, @HHShkMohd

(Photo: Joe McKendrick.)

— By on January 2, 2013, 8:20 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure