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Ilves, Rinkevics leading exponents of "Twitter diplomacy": new report

  • 2015-04-29
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, RIGA/TALLINN

In an international report produced for Twitter, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics were both mentioned as examples of politicians who are active users of Twitter and write their own posts.

The study, released by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller on Tuesday, analysed the Twitter use of the accounts of 669 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 166 countries worldwide.

"Over the past years Twitter has become the channel of choice for digital diplomacy between world leaders, governments, foreign ministries and diplomats," the report states.

"Social media in general and Twitter in particular is no longer just an afterthought but an essential communication tool for governments to interact and broadcast 140 character messages and six-second soundbites."

The report found that, as of July 2014, all the world leaders combined have sent 1,932,002 tweets, an average of four tweets per person each day.

The report mentions that Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, is more likely to to respond to a tweet from one of her followers on Twitter than any other leader in the Western world.

The study also commended Solberg as one of the “notable exceptions” to the growing trend for world leaders to outsource their Twitter accounts to public relations staff, alongside Ilves, Rinkevics and European Council President Donald Tusk.

Both Ilves and Rinkevics are well-known for their Twitter use. Ilves was involved in a high-profile dispute with US economist Paul Krugman using Twitter in 2012, after Krugman questioned Estonia's economic recovery. In November last year, Rinkevics announced he was gay - becoming the first Latvian politician to do so - via Twitter. Rinkevics also caused an angry reaction from some Russian politicians after a Twitter post earlier this month in which he stated: "the more I follow modern RU, the more I come to conclusion that she will end up like German Reich after both WWI & WWII & it'll be to late"

As of March 24th, the most-followed world leaders were US President Barack Obama, who has 57 million followers; Pope Francis, who has 20 million followers across his nine accounts in different languages; and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has about 11 million.