Twiplomacy is the first-ever global study of world leaders on Twitter. The governments of almost two-thirds of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter: 45% of the 264 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state and government, but just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis.
This study shows that while the social network invites direct interaction between users, few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections. Almost half of world leader accounts analysed don’t follow any of their peers. A quarter of world leaders and governments follow President Barack Obama and the White House, but @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse have established mutual Twitter relations with only three other world leaders: Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, the UK Prime Minister and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.
European Union President Herman van Rompuy (@euHvR) is the best connected world leader with 11 mutual follows. Australian Prime Minister @JuliaGillard is the second most connected world leader. Many governments use Twitter as an automated news feed from their website or Facebook page. As of 1 July 2012 the 264 accounts enjoyed a combined following of 51,990,656.