RT if you're the big kahuna
August 18, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Twiplomacy is the first-ever global study of world leaders on Twitter. The governments of almost two-thirds of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter: 45% of the 264 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state and government, but just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis. This study shows that while the social network invites direct interaction between users, few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections.
posted by infini (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 


few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections.

I'm sorry, did you say 'opportunity to cause their political staff heart attacks after Romney style cockups'?

Were I either Karl Rove or Sir Humphrey, I'd be having palpitations at the very idea of handing my head of state a device where they could say something stupid at any time. It's hard to see the appreciable upside, and easy to imagine both diplomatic and domestic political scandals ginned up over out of context things even if real scandal wasn't there.

They are thus anodine, clearly written by a staffer or non-existent.
posted by jaduncan at 10:58 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections.

@BarackObama
So tru! RT @kanyewest - I hate small talk.

Seriously though, how many real "connections" are developed on Twitter? I know there are some actual collaborations between artistic-types, but conversing about politics in 140 characters? Seems as shallow the tweets included in TV news shows, where tweets are used add a level of "this is what people are saying" in convenient soundclips.

I'm sure there are some great uses for Twitter, but discussing politics with the public seems like 21st century glad-handing and baby kissing.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm ok with our world leaders not worrying about how to craft 140-character tweets to the world, and instead going about their job leading nations.
posted by Houstonian at 11:02 AM on August 18, 2012


All that said, I applaud twiplomacy on the research done, because it is an interesting phenomenon, and it is interesting to read convenient synopses about how politicians and their staff are utilizing twitter.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:03 AM on August 18, 2012


few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections

why?

"It's like a fugue of evaded responsibility"

-David Foster Wallace, The Pale King.
posted by clavdivs at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


At a different scale, Twitter could be useful for local discussions, where a politician or governmental office has 17,000 followers instead of 17,000,000 like BarackObama. Smaller questions about local issues that can be answered in a few words, then elaborated upon at local meetings.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2012


I've been watching how more experienced Kenyan tweeters have taken to gently guiding Chief Kariuki about "things one shouldn't tweet" such as the passport number/ID details when a lost one was found etc

And Paul Kagame replies to people even though he doesn't follow anyone, its been documented that Rwandans feel he's approachable due to this.

Granted he's gotten himself into a twitter fight with a journalist, but its personal attention like this that makes a difference, at least to the citizens of the country, rather than global world politics as mentioned above.

Perhaps if more such heads of state (even occasionally) reached out to individuals, they wouldn't be so remote or unconnected in their actions from the impact they have on average Joe.
posted by infini at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2012


Seriously though, how many real "connections" are developed on Twitter?

I just got my next project solely through this medium and its a sweet one.
posted by infini at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2012


Perhaps it would be more accurate, in the case of the leaders, for it to be reframed as "a sense of a personal connection" rather than "making a connection" per se.
posted by infini at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


And Paul Kagame replies to people even though he doesn't follow anyone, its been documented that Rwandans feel he's approachable due to this.

I'd guess that there's a lot fewer issues with scale for Kenya and Rwanda vs say Russia, the UK or USA.
posted by jaduncan at 11:48 AM on August 18, 2012


Yes, it'd be interesting to see how Indian politicians (@shashitharoor for eg) or the Chinese may do it (Are they on Weibo?)
posted by infini at 11:52 AM on August 18, 2012




And Paul Kagame replies to people even though he doesn't follow anyone

Excellent example of why using Twitter is more important than following people. I find that the closer the number of followees are to the number of followers on a 'famous' account, the more likely it's just run by some PR people with an auto-follow-back script.

People who complain about not being followed back, on the other hand, have no business being on Twitter.

Mind you, with Twitter announcing its global suicide plans this week, maybe this is all moot.
posted by Jimbob at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2012


I'd guess that there's a lot fewer issues with scale for Kenya and Rwanda vs say Russia, the UK or USA.

You don't have to reply back to everyone two tweets at you. A little goes a long way.
posted by Jimbob at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2012


I know there are some actual collaborations between artistic-types
yeahhh not so fast there
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:05 PM on August 18, 2012


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