Three out of Four Heads of State now on Twitter

The Digital Policy Council’s latest research shows world leaders rushing to join Twitter in the hope of better engaging their citizenry.

Washington, D.C. January 1, 2013 – The Digital Policy Council (DPC), an international, non-
partisan “think tank” on 21st Century Governance, has released its 2012 ranking report on the use of
social media by heads of state.

The DPC is the research and public advocacy arm of Digital Daya (‘digital influence’), a next generation
strategic consultancy that empowers government and corporate leaders to leverage the new media of
the Internet to build influence and shape public opinion.

The Digital Policy Council’s most up-to-date research recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR)
of 93% in world leaders joining Twitter since it began recording the data in early 2010 reflecting a
near doubling every year of Heads of State on Twitter as they aggressively pursue new ways to build
influence with their citizens and the international community.

Analyses as of December 2012 reveal that 75%, or three out of four heads of state, have a presence on
the social media site Twitter. A total of 123 world leaders out of 164 countries have Twitter accounts set
up in their personal name or through an official government office. The new figures represent a 78%
increase in the number of heads of state and national governments on Twitter from the third quarter of

“We expect Twitter will become a de facto communication tool for nearly all heads of state in 2013.”
said Omar Hijazi, Managing Partner at Digital Daya. “With a more emboldened and connected society,
world leaders are recognizing, now more than ever, that the options for communicating with their
electorate have been permanently redefined.”

Latin America, Middle East and Women Take Claim of the Top 10

In 2012, President Obama again maintained the top spot of all world leaders, with a vast 24 million
followers, adding 15 million followers in one year and exceeding his closest rival President Hugo Chávez
of Venezuela by 20 million followers. President Chavez along with four other Latin American leaders
made up 50% of the Top 10 including newcomers President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and
President Enrique Peña Nietoin of Mexico.

Three spectacular women claimed spots in the Top 10 in 2012 capturing collectively over 5.5. million
followers; these world leaders are Queen Rania of Jordan, President Dilma Rouseff of Brazil and
Argentinean President Cristina Fernández De Kirchner.

The Queen of Jordan was joined by two other world leaders from the Middle East, President Abdullah
Gül of Turkey who increased his following by over 2 million people and an enduring member of the
Top 10, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who grew his
followers by nearly 1 million in a single year.

The sole European on the list is Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a fresh entrant into the top ten in
2012 likes to tweet in both Russian and English.

Resistance is Futile

Suddenly resistance to this medium, throughout the political sphere, is being converted into acceptance. World leaders are discovering that it isn’t possible to control the internet, it is more important to harness its energy in the right direction.

Even the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, a long-time hold-out and consistent disparager of the Twitter platform, experienced a change of heart by adopting in October 2012 a Twitter handle in his own name. When questioned by the media as to why he was at long last utilizing Twitter, he provided an acquiescent yet telling remark, “You’ve got to get with the programme, I suppose.”

For more insights and information download the full report at

About The Digital Policy Council™

The Digital Policy Council (DPC) is an international, non-partisan ‘think tank’ that promotes good
governance and policy-making. The research and policy arm of the management consultancy
firm Digital Daya, DPC’s mission is the advancement of open discourse on issues of inclusive
governance through the use of the Internet and Web 2.0.


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