A new study finds that the governments of more than three-quarters (77.7%) of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on social networking site, Twitter.
It found that almost half of the 505 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state, heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs; a third of these are world leaders that tweet, themselves, but very few on a regular basis.
The study found that 405 are active accounts, 79 are dormant accounts, 17 are inactive accounts and have never sent a single tweet and four are protected accounts
A quarter of world leaders and governments unilaterally follow President Barack Obama and the White House, but @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse have established mutual Twitter relations with only four other world leaders.
Swedish Foreign Minister @CarlBildt is the best connected world leader, mutually following 44 peers. Ugandan Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader with 96% of his tweets being @replies to other Twitter users.
Many governments also use Twitter as an automated news feed from their website or Facebook page. As of 1 July 2013, the 505 accounts enjoyed a combined following of 105,733,356, the study found.
Barack Obama was the first world leader to sign up to Twitter on 5 March 2007 as user #813,286.
South African president Jacob Zuma isn’t the most active tweep, the study said.
So far he has tweeted less than 100 times mainly from an iPhone on the go. However his account was largely silent between May 2012 and April 2013.
The study noted that due to his large following Zuma’s tweets are retweeted over 79 times on average. Zuma is followed by 22 other world leaders but he hasn’t yet reciprocated.
More than two-thirds of African governments have a presence on Twitter and African leaders are generally among the most conversational Twitter users.
Almost half of the world leaders use Twitter’s website to tweet. Twitter clients Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are used by 8% and 4%, respectively. Eight percent tweet their status updates directly from Facebook and 9% “tweet on the go” from an iPhone or an iPad.
World leaders tweet in 48 different languages. One hundred seventy-six English language accounts have sent 316,728 tweets to a combined following of 52,617,262 followers.
However, the 60 Spanish language accounts are the most prolific having sent 342,121 tweets to 18,158,992 followers. 44 accounts tweet in French (69,036 tweets), 38 in Arabic (41,299 tweets), 14 in Russian (34,705 tweets), 12 in Portuguese, eight in Italian, German and Croatian respectively.