Not all world leaders convinced by Twitter, says survey

Some world leaders may be making full use of the microblogging Twitter tool to promote their ideas, but other international figures are shunning the medium, a new survey revealed Thursday.

"Sixteen of the G20 leaders are actively using Twitter for public diplomacy," said Matthias Lufkens, Digital Practice Leader at Burson-Marsteller, the communications firm behind the study.

"But it is sad to see that the heads of state and government in China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Italy still have not joined the Twitterverse," he added.

Almost two-thirds of world leaders had a Twitter account, the study found, but fewer than half of them used the microblogging service to contact their peers.

EU President Herman van Rompuy (@euHvR) is the best-connected world leader, following 11 of his peers -- and being followed by them.

But 35 world leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin among them, do not follow any other Twitter user.

The findings, uncovered in a survey of 264 government accounts in 125 countries, also indicated that more than a quarter of followed US President Barrack Obama's messages, or "tweets".

Obama himself however -- @BarackObama -- only follows two other leaders: Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The study also found that politicians turned to Twitter during election campaigns -- but once elected many accounts went silent.

French President Francois Hollande (@FHollande) and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (@DilmaBR) had "abandoned their followers since taking office", the report said.

The Twitter service was also used by small nations to put themselves on the map, the report said: President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic was in touch with 71 other world leaders.

And while President Obama is the most followed leader in the political sphere, his worldwide following of 17 million Twitter users still only puts him in sixth place overall.

One place ahead of him is Britney Spears, and in first place, with 27 million followers, Lady Gaga.

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