The Digital Policy Council’s latest research observes five out of the Top 15 Heads of State who tweet stem from predominantly Muslim nations.
Washington, D.C. Jan 1, 2015
The Digital Policy Council (DPC) released its fifth annual ranking of world leaders’ use of Twitter. DPC’s latest report indicates almost stagnant growth in the number of heads of state on this medium. In 2014, 82% or about 4 out of 5 world leaders were using Twitter. This figure represents only a slight growth of 2% over 2013. Notably however, the total number of people following these political leaders has jumped by 40% from 2013 to now reach a total of 116 million ― mounting up to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 75% over the last 4 years.
Muslim Nations Stand out Amongst Top 15 World Leaders who Tweet
While President Obama confidently retains the #1 spot with a vast following of 51 million, one-third of the Top 15 comprises leaders from the Muslim world.
The anti-hero to this story is President Recep Erdoğan of Turkey, who debuts at the #4 spot held previously by his rival Abdullah Gül. Despite ordering the Turkish courts to block Twitter during local elections, he has managed to amass over 5 million followers.
Queen Rania of Jordan slips one place this year to hold the #5 spot. As one of the most influential women in the Middle East, she continues to use her Twitter presence to advocate for women’s rights, education and employment of the youth in the Middle East.
The steadiest upward mover among the Top 15 remains His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. He claims the #6 spot moving up from #7 last year and #10 in 2012. As a strong advocate of social engagement, Sheikh Mohammed declared that platforms like Twitter and Instagram “created new opportunities, removed all barriers and made the audience part of our development plans.”
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, takes the reins from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was at the number 2 spot in 2013. President Widodo places in at #11 as Indonesians began following him in droves.
Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia rounds out this list at #13. After receiving criticism for playing golf with President Obama in Hawaii, Prime Minister Najib quickly responded with a tweet to his citizenry letting them know that he’s deeply concerned by the floods and will be promptly returning home to see the situation for himself.
Only 10 democracies in the world have leaders who aren’t tweeting
The DPC’s analyses noted 84 tweeting countries out of a total of 94 countries in the world classified as fully democratic, signifying approximately 90% of the leaders of the world’s democracies tweet. In contrast, only 62% of non-democratic nations have leaders that tweet. Further, the report reveals that 83% of politically stable countries have leaders that tweet.
“The research reconfirms that heads of state who are confident in their leadership and assured of their political legitimacy are most comfortable with social media — regardless of the form of government whether they serve in democracies, monarchies, or autocracies;” said Omar Hijazi, Managing Partner at Digital Daya.