Twiplomacy is the Bible of social media professionals in international organizations


The Twiplomacy report is par excellence the guide book to the use of institutional tweeting or, as they better put it, it is an annual global study looking at the use of Twitter by heads of state and government and ministers of foreign affairs.

While some heads of state and government continue to amass large followings, foreign ministers have established a virtual diplomatic network by following each other on the social media platform. Here is the executive summary from this great work put up by Matthias Lüfkens and Marek Zaremba-Pike together at Burston Marsteller. I had the pleasure to meet Matthias and Marek at their presentation of the report at BM’s offices in Brussels last July (See video below and my short intervention at 40:57)

For many diplomats Twitter has become a powerful channel for digital diplomacy and 21st century statecraft and not all Twitter exchanges are diplomatic, real world differences are spilling over reflected on Twitter and sometimes end up in hashtag wars.

“I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world,” India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in his inaugural message on his new website. Within weeks of his election in May 2014, the @NarendraModi account has moved into the top four most followed Twitter accounts of world leaders with close to five million followers.

More than half of the world’s foreign ministers and their institutions are active on the social networking site. Twitter has become an indispensable diplomatic networking and communication tool. As Finnish Prime Minister @AlexStubb wrote in a tweet in March 2014: “Most people who criticize Twitter are often not on it. I love this place. Best source of info. Great way to stay tuned and communicate.”

As of 25 June 2014, 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 personal accounts on the social network.

Most Followed World Leaders

Since his election in late May 2014, India’s new Prime Minister @NarendraModi has skyrocketed into fourth place, surpassing the the @WhiteHouse on 25 June 2014 and dropping Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül (@cbabdullahgul) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) into sixth and seventh place with more than 4 million followers each.

Modi still has a ways to go to best U.S. President @BarackObama, who tops the world-leader list with a colossal 43.7 million followers, with Pope Francis @Pontifex) with 14 million followers on his nine different language accounts and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono @SBYudhoyono, who has more than five million followers and surpassed President Obama’s official administration account @WhiteHouse on 13 February 2014.

In Latin America Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina @CFKArgentina is slightly ahead of Colombia’s President @JuanManSantos with 2,894,864 and 2,885,752 followers respectively. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto @EPN, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff @dilmabr and Venezuela’s @NicolasMaduro complete the Latin American top five, with more than two million followers each.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta is Africa’s most followed president with 457,307 followers, ahead of Rwanda’s @PaulKagame (407,515

followers) and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma (@SAPresident) (325,876 followers).

Turkey’s @Ahmet_Davutoglu is the most followed foreign minister with 1,511,772 followers, ahead of India’s @SushmaSwaraj (1,274,704 followers) and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates @ABZayed (1,201,364 followers) Continue reading “Twiplomacy is the Bible of social media professionals in international organizations”

EU Heads of Government on Facebook: who’s scoring best?


After releasing the ranking of EU Heads of government on  Twitter I thought I should not stop there and I should also check their presence on the most populated social media: Facebook.

As I explained in the previous post, the communication strategies of EU Heads of Government vary greatly. Some Prime Ministers are not on social media, some are just on Twitter, some are just on Facebook some are on both platforms.

For instance Bohuslav Sobotka and Jyrki Katainen do not have an official personal presence on either platform, while David Cameron, Matteo Renzi and Mariano Rajoy are on both. Angela Merkel, Werner Faymann and Helle Thorning-Schmidt are  not on Twitter but they do have a Facebook page while the opposite applies to Nicos Anastasiades, Victor Ponta and  Joseph Muscat (see full table below. Data as of 25/03/2014)

European_Heads_of_state_Facebook

As we can see from the table above, out of the 19 Heads of Government on Facebook, 10 are actually verified. Some well-known public figures and Pages with large followings are verified by Facebook as having an authentic identity. You’ll see a blue badge next to a verified profile or Page’s name. Facebook verifies profiles or Pages to help you be sure that they are who they claim to be.

European_Heads_of_state_Facebook

As we can see from the chart above, as for Twitter, Matteo Renzi is the most followed (or “liked”) EU head of government on Facebook with 628.360 likes, followed by Chancellor Merkel (who does not have a personal Twitter account) with 517.415 and Président Hollande with 448.191 likes (Hollande is also the second most followed Twitter account for an EU Head of Government). David Cameron, who has the third most followed Twitter account, is in 6th position in this ranking.

Continue reading “EU Heads of Government on Facebook: who’s scoring best?”

Personal Twitter accounts of European Prime Ministers: who’s scoring best?


Twiplomacy already does an incredible job in assessing the presence of world leaders on Twitter. What I want to show you today is a brief overview of how European Heads of Government perform on Twitter in terms of followers, Klout score and in terms of fake followers. Just to be clear, I refer to “Heads of Government”  and not “Heads of state.”

Followers aren’t everything, as I have already advocated in a recent post discussing the presence of the European Commission on social media. However, this ranking gives you an indication of the popularity of certain world leaders on Twitter in comparison to others.

Out of the 28 heads of states in the members of the European Union, 16 have a personal presence on Twitter. These people have a presence on Twitter independently from their position. David Cameron will always be Mr. David Cameron even  after his mandate as British Prime Minister will be over and the same applies for instance to Francois Hollande. Some governments such as Greece and The Netherlands use an account for their Prime Minister regardless of who occupies this position. In the case for instance of Italy, you can see both the account of newly elected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and of whoever sits at Palazzo Chigi although in this case the account is basically the voice on Twitter of their press office.

I assume that the choice around which Twitter strategy to adopt depends partly on the political system. In fact it wouldn’t make much sense to implant the Dutch approach in Italy which is de facto the most unstable political system in the world (62 different governments in 68 years).

With no further ado, here is the ranking of European Heads of Government with a personal presence on Twitter ordered by Twitter followers (data as of 05/03/2014)

European_Prime_Ministers_Twitter

Newly-“elected” PM Renzi is by far the most followed European Head of State with 931K followers, followed by Monsieur Hollande with 613k and David Cameron with 608k. I say “elected” between quotation marks because I was not particularly happy with the way the new government was appointed.

The tweet above was also quoted as tweet of the week by ViEUws

Fake followers represent a common threat for the popularity of public and political figures on social media. I made an analysis based on Fakers, a tool that detects the amount of fake followers an account has. Here are the results by net followers. You can’t really prove and be 100% sure that somebody has bought fake followers. However, when you get very high rates of fake followers (like in the first 4 cases listed below) the question is at least legitimate but not assetive.

This point is quite interesting in the Italian political sphere where former comedian and current leader of the Movimento 5 Stelle Beppe Grillo largely bases his political campaign on his “alleged” digital popularity. The truth is that only 9-6% of Mr Grillo’s 1.4 million followers as considered “good” by Fakers. Anyway, here is the ranking.

Polish PM Donald Tusk‘s followers are fake by 62%. Matteo Renzi follows with 43% and Belgian Prime Minister Di Rupo is just behind with 38%.

European_Prime_Ministers_Twitter

Here is the ranking of the accounts ordered by their percentage of net followers. Fake followers don’t seem to have changed the order in this ranking.

European_Prime_Ministers_TwitterKlout is the first company really to nail down a measurement algorithm and to assign a number to people based on their perceived social influence. . Read more about it in one of my previous articles. Here is the ranking of European Heads of Government ordered by Klout score

European_Prime_Ministers_Twitter

As we can see, David Cameron displays an impressive score of 92, followed by Hollande with 88 and Di Rupo with 87

UPDATE 15/03/2014

Thanks to Twiplomacy, I found out that @zoranmilanovi, @regeringschefen and @abratusek are fake or unofficial accounts. The tables have been updated accordingly.