Study: Obama leads world leaders in Twitter popularity, falls short on engagement

The public relations firm analyzed 264 government accounts in 125 countries, calling the "Twiplomacy" survey the first-ever global study of world leaders on Twitter. 

Many leaders are still using their Twitter accounts as an outlet rather than to engage in conversation. The study found that 99 Twitter accounts attributed to heads of state have never sent a single reply.

According to the study, about 30 of the leaders represented by the 264 accounts appear to do their own tweeting. Obama's account is managed by his campaign, but he offers unusual clarity about who sends his tweets. His Twitter bio includes the line "Tweets from the President are signed -bo."

He is still the most-followed head of state on Twitter, with more than 17.5 million followers. The firm found that his most popular tweet ever, from May, was also the most popular tweet ever sent by a head of government: "Same-sex couples should be able to get married." 

Other interesting findings from the survey include the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not following any of the other world leaders on Twitter. The best-connected leader is European Union President Herman van Rompuy, with 11 mutual followers among other world leaders.

Leaders from various countries are tweeting in 43 different languages, the study found, and the leaders of China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Italy are among the heads of state who have yet to join the microblogging service. 

The study also found only three heads of state who have ever tweeted an obscenity: former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Panama's Ricardo Martinelli, who both deleted the comments, and Estonian President Toomas Ilves, whose tweet is still live.

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