In 2020, 187 countries were represented through an official presence on Twitter, either by personal or institutional accounts run by heads of state and government and foreign ministers. During the measured period, U.S. President Donald Trump was ranked first, having accumulated over 77 million Twitter followers on his personal account. The official @POTUS account was ranked fifth with 29 million followers worldwide.
Heads of state on Twitter
Twitter is a very conversational social platform, allowing users to communicate in a very public manner. Foreign ministries utilize Twitter to expand their online presence and digital diplomatic networks, and government officials are encouraged to interact with the public. The most conversational world leader on Twitter is the Dutch Government, with 97 percent of their tweets being @ replies to other Twitter users.
Another more subtle layer of Twitter diplomacy is the mutual following of peers between official heads of state, minister and other government accounts – as of January 2019, the EU External Action Service (@eu_eeas) was ranked first, having 148 mutual connections with other world leaders and foreign ministries on Twitter. During the measured period, @realDonaldTrump, @POTUS and the @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts did not follow any other foreign leaders. In 2018, the account of the U.S. State Department had only 54 mutual peer connections on Twitter, painting a relatively isolated picture in terms of international political communications.
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Twiplomacy. (April 16, 2020). World leaders with the most Twitter followers as of April 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved July 08, 2020, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/281375/heads-of-state-with-the-most-twitter-followers/
Twiplomacy. "World leaders with the most Twitter followers as of April 2020." Chart. April 16, 2020. Statista. Accessed July 08, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/281375/heads-of-state-with-the-most-twitter-followers/
Twiplomacy. (2020). World leaders with the most Twitter followers as of April 2020. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 08, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/281375/heads-of-state-with-the-most-twitter-followers/
Twiplomacy. "World Leaders with The Most Twitter Followers as of April 2020." Statista, Statista Inc., 16 Apr 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/281375/heads-of-state-with-the-most-twitter-followers/
Twiplomacy, World leaders with the most Twitter followers as of April 2020 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/281375/heads-of-state-with-the-most-twitter-followers/ (last visited July 08, 2020)