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The Most Influential Leader on Twitter Is Not Who You Think

#Twiplomacy Study
Anne Parsons
The Most Influential Leader on Twitter Is Not Who You Think© 2017 Twitter

Forget about diplomacy, how about twiplomacy? 

Twitter has undoubtedly amplified the voices of world leaders in the last few years, and its influence is there to be seen in tweets and retweets. The #Twiplomacy study is an annual global study which takes a look at the use of Twitter and world leaders, and how they interact with each other on the “virtual diplomatic network”.

So who do you reckon is the most influential leader? We can tell you now that Barack Obama has the most followers (at almost 44 million). So he's the most influential, right? Well, not quite. The measure of how influential a person is comes down to the retweeting.

According to the study, the truly most influential person on Twitter is Pope Francis, the current pope of the Catholic Church, who has more than 14 million followers across a number of accounts (in different languages).

So while follower numbers are important, it’s the tweet to retweet ratio that matters more. So despite Obama’s massive following, the @BarackObama tweets are on average retweeted only 1,442 times. On the other hand, Pope Francis’ tweets get retweeted on average 10,000 times on his Spanish language account, and 6,462 on his English account, which deems him the most influential. Now for you.

Quick facts #Twiplomacy via Tech.eu

  • The vast majority (83 percent) of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) of all heads of state and heads of government have their own personal accounts on the social network.
  • 31 world leader accounts are inactive and have never sent a single tweet, and seven are protected accounts.
  • Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers (43.7 million), almost nine times as much as number two, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesian President; 5 million followers) and number three, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (just under 5 million followers).
  • French Foreign Minister @LaurentFabius is the best connected foreign minister, mutually connected with 91 other peers and world leaders.
  • The Prime Minister of Uganda @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader according to the study, with 95 percent of his tweets being @replies to other Twitter users.
  • #Twiplomacy also confirms that very few world leaders actually appear to be doing their own tweeting.

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