Charles Dharapak/AP Photo
President Obama tweeting during a "Twitter Town Hall" at the White House in July 2011.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, twiplomacy is a thing. It's a term that refers to national governments' Twitter accounts and how their leaders use them to communicate with citizens. PR firm Burson-Marstellar has just conducted the very first study on twiplomacy, and they found that almost two-thirds of the 193 member states of the United Nations have created accounts.
Who's the most popular tweeter leader (leader tweeter)? The prize goes to @BarackObama who has more than 17.8 million followers. Obama also has the most retweeted single tweet of all government officials in the study. Maybe you remember this one:
Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET
This tweet is particularly special because it was written by Obama himself, as evidenced by his signature. Though "45% of the 246 accounts analyzed are personal accounts of heads of state and government," the study says, "just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis."
Twitter can be a great way to have direct, unfiltered communication with users, but few world leaders use this tool to build connections with peers around the world, Burson-Marstellar says.
A quarter of world leaders and governments follow President Barack Obama and the White House, but @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse have established mutual Twitter relations with only three other world leaders: Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, the UK Prime Minister and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.
Twiplomacy, it seems, is still a young trend. Heads of state in China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Italy have yet to jump on the twandwagon (that one's a stretch). Perhaps in the future we'll see more world leaders use this medium as a new form of communication with their citizens, and with one another. For now, President Obama reigns as the top twiplomat.