Twiplomacy – how world leaders tweet

Annual Twitter study finds governments becoming savvier in the use of the social media channel

Twiplomacy Study 2015

Twitter has become the social media channel of choice for world leaders to reach large audiences with key messages and soundbites, according to Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study. Twiplomacy is the leading global study of world leaders on Twitter, which aims to identify the extent to which world leaders use Twitter and how they connect on the social network.

As of 24 March 2015, 86 percent of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter. Beijing remains the only G20 government without an official Twitter presence. 172 heads of state and heads of government have personal accounts on the social network. More than half of the world’s foreign ministers and their institutions are active on the social networking site.

For many diplomats Twitter has become a powerful channel for digital diplomacy and 21stcentury statecraft. Not all Twitter exchanges are diplomatic - real world differences are playing out on Twitter and sometimes end up in hashtag wars between embassies and foreign ministries.

  • During the Iran talks in Lausanne in March/April 2015 Twitter was the preferred social media channel for all negotiating parties to update the media as well as the general public about the state of the negotiations.
  • Twitter was essential to spread the historic handshake between Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro at the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama in April 2015
  • And in April 2015 former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose exclusively Twitter and YouTube to announce her 2016 presidential bid.
  • No embassy can do without a Twitter presence and social media is now part and parcel of any diplomatic training for ambassadors and diplomats.
  • Less and less leaders tweet themselves often outsourcing the posting to their staff, however there are notable exceptions.

Twiplomacy 2015 highlights:

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