Berlin: In less than a year after assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the third most followed world leader on the social networking site, topped by US President Barack Obama, according to a report released on Tuesday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is the most followed foreign minister on Twitter.
“US President @BarackObama is still the most followed world leader, with close to 60 million followers but Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is catching up fast with close to 20 million followers on his nine language accounts,” the annual Twiplomacy analysis of Twitter accounts released by PR firm Burson-Marsteller said.
“Since his election in late May 2014, India’s Prime Minister @NarendraModi has skyrocketed into third place, surpassing Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RT_Erdogan) and the @WhiteHouse with more than six million followers each,” it said.
Modi had 10,902,510 followers till 24 March.
In terms of influence, Pope was the most effective. Prime Minister Modi was the fifth most influential leader preceded by Obama.
“The meteoric rise of the Indian Prime Minister and the large following of the Turkish President and the King of Saudi Arabia shows that leaders of the most populous countries and countries where Twitter penetration is high have a clear advantage in garnering a large army of dedicated followers,” the report said.
“The number of followers of a country’s leader has in some cases become a question of national pride,” it said.
“Fifteen world leaders have seen some of their tweets retweeted more than 20,000 times, reflecting major announcements and historic events, such as @NarendraModi’s election tweet: ‘India has won! The conquest of India. Good days are ahead’,” the report said.
Pope Francis, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the US State Department, Prime Minister Modi, Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro all appear on more than 10,000 Twitter lists.
Swaraj, who is the most followed foreign minister with 2,438,228 followers, was far ahead of Abdullah Bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (1,608,831 followers) and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu with only 376,429 followers.
“It is impossible to say whether governments pay to promote the accounts of their leaders but we have seen an interesting pattern on the @IndianDiplomacy and the @MEAIndia accounts whose tweets are automatically retweeted by an army of 90 tweeps who all follow each other and whose sole purpose is to retweet the tweets from @IndianDiplomacy, @MEAIndia and @TOIIndiaNews, three accounts listed on each of their public Twitter list, aptly entitled ‘RT’,” the study said.
“Thanks to their dedicated action the tweets of @IndianDiplomacy and @MEAIndia are consistently retweeted 100 times but rarely favourited,” it said.
“When the social media team of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to archive the @PMOIndia account, including its 4,400 tweets and its 1.2 million followers, it caused a public outcry because this action would have deprived the new government of a large and captive audience. What has become known as #Handlegate has since been reversed by the Indian government,” it added.