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Three out of four world leaders maintain a presence on social media and micro-blogging site Twitter, a recent study has showed. However, at least some anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that teens are no longer keen on using the service.
DigitalDaya said its data tracking showed that, as of December 2012, 123 world leaders from 164 countries —a full 75 percent of those surveyed— have Twitter accounts. 3 of 4 world leaders
"A total of 123 world leaders out of 164 countries have accounts on Twitter set up in their personal name or through an official government office. In our last report in August of 2011 only 69 out of 164 countries were using Twitter," said the site, which seeks to help world leaders use digital platforms to engage the world. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is one such head of state who maintains a presence on Twitter: he maintains an official Twitter account, @noynoyaquino, with over 1.2 million followers.
Rising heads of state
DigitalDaya noted that, while some see digital activism as a threat to activists, the new figures show a "steady increase in the number of heads of state that are using Twitter."
"As digital activism becomes more intensified, it is often seen as a threat to governments, but an outcome has been the steady increase in the number of heads of state that are using Twitter, and recognizing the benefits of the vehicle to allow for direct interaction with constituents," it said.
The Digital Policy Council also found that the engagement rate of heads of democratic countries is as much as 87 percent.
"And given how fast those numbers have been growing, the council estimates they will start to approach 100 percent before 2013 is out, rendering Twitter 'a de facto communication tool for all heads of state,'" it said.
The study also noted that the regions with the highest concentration of leaders using the site are Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
The study ranked the top heads of state on Twitter, based on follower count as of December 2012:
- Barack Obama - United States - 24.6 million
- Hugo Chavez - Venezuela - 3.8 million
- Abdullah Gul - Turkey - 2.6 million
- Rania Al Abdullah - Jordan - 2.5 million
- Dmitry Medvedev - Russia - 2 milllion
- Dilma Rousseff - Brazil - 1.8 million
- Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - Argentina - 1.5 million
- Juan Manuel Santos - Colombia - 1.5 million
- Enrique Pena Nieto - Mexico - 1.4 million
- Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UAE - 1.3 million
Teens not keen? On the other hand, an article on Slate.com pointed out that the heavy engagement on Twitter by world leaders contrasts with anecdotal evidence that teens may not tend to use Twitter as avidly. It cited a blog post by Branch co-founder Josh Miller, who noted that his 15-year-old sister and other kids her age are not as keen to use Twitter as older people are.
"Nobody uses it. I know you love it but I don’t get it. I mean, I guess a a few kids use it but they’re all the ones who won’t shut up in class, who always think they have something important to say," Miller quoted his sister as saying.
Miller expressed surprise at this insight, but also said that it represents an opportunity for Twitter's future growth.
"Kids my sister’s age are driving the growth of Instagram and Snapchat, yet (anecdotally) they’re barely using Twitter. If the company can figure out how to better appeal to younger demographics, there’s a massive growth opportunity there," he said. — TJD, GMA News