World Leaders on Twitter – Adoption Stagnates Even as Follower Base Explodes

Jan 2016 DD- Press Release Photo

Annual research indicates sluggish growth in adoption of Twitter by leaders from politically unstable countries while popular leaders continue to lead, almost doubling their follower base in the last two years.

Washington, D.C., Jan 24, 2016 – The Digital Policy Council (DPC) released its sixth annual ranking of world leaders on Twitter as a means of communication and diplomacy within the political landscape. Mirroring last year’s trend, new sign-ups by heads of state remain almost negligible in 2015. Analyses as of December 2015 reveal that 83% heads of state worldwide are active on Twitter. A total of 139 world leaders out of 167 countries had accounts on Twitter set up in their personal name or through an official government office, which reflects a mere 1% increase over 2014.

The Breakthrough Candidate – only one new entrant in the exclusive top 10 club

His last year in office notwithstanding, US President Obama continues his legacy of being the most followed leader. As of December 25, 2015, his fan base on Twitter stands at a whopping 67 million.

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, remains steadfastly rooted to the second spot with a following of 17 million – as drawn to his viral selfies as they are to his 140-character updates.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai continued his steady ascent with a two-spot leap in 2015 to clinch the fourth spot worldwide.

Rounding off the tenth spot is President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the sole new entrant to break into the top ten list this year, with an impressive 4.1 million followers – a fact that hardly surprised anyone, considering Indonesia is one of the world’s most active Twitter-using country.

Jordan’s Queen Rania and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff were the female representatives in the male-dominated list, making their voices count while consistently increasing their follower base.

The Outliers – 7 democracies in the world have leaders who aren’t tweeting

The Council’s analyses indicated that 91.5% of the leaders of the world’s democracies tweet as well as 87.3% of politically stable nations. In contrast, only 64.4% of non-democratic nations have leaders that tweet as do only 61.2% of politically fragile nations.

In 2015, there were only 7 democracies in the world whose leaders are not tweeting to their citizenry, down from 10 in 2014. The three democracies moving off the “shame list” from last year include Denmark, Nicaragua, and Mauritius.

“The report reaffirms the fact that world leaders of democratic and stable nations tap Twitter for the potential for a greater level of engagement,” said Omar Hijazi, Managing Partner at Digital Daya. “Therefore, mediums of social engagement such as Twitter prove to be equalizers in that they democratize politicians as well as encourage the political process leading to a better connect between leaders and their citizenry.”

For more details, download the full report here:

About The Digital Policy Council™

The Digital Policy Council (DPC) is an international, non-partisan “think tank” whose objective is the advancement of open discourse on issues of inclusive government. The DPC is the research and policy arm of Digital Daya, a strategic consultancy that provides advisory services to corporate and government leaders regarding digital media.