Back in 2011, Twitter served as a megaphone for protestors all over the world — but by 2013, the digital landscape had changed, as protestors were gradually joined online by a new kind of follower: their political leaders. Now, a recent report by the Digital Policy Council states that of the world's 167 countries, 133 leaders have Twitter accounts, whether in their own name or through an official government office.
This is the fifth of the organization's annual reports, and this year's results reflect an interesting trend. According to the DPC, leaders are learning how to "to leverage the medium for strategic communications," as a means of increasing governmental transparency and influencing public opinion.
And that transparency isn't limited to each nation's own citizens: Iran's newly-elected president Hassan Rouhani — who joined Twitter just this year — now has over 150,000 followers. Even though Twitter is blocked in his country.
Because the 2013's growth of 8 percent was only a small fraction of 2012's 78 percent increase, the DPC is beginning to examine the #holdouts, which include Sweden, Zimbabwe, and China. However, the organization predicts that by 2014, 90 percent of the world's leaders will be reaching their citizens through hashtags and @handles, which they claim "will improve citizen participation, openness and accountability in governments worldwide." No word yet on how parody accounts, like this magnificent fake Kim Jong-un handle, will factor in.
The report also included a list of the most popular world leaders, as of 2013 — so we sorted through the Twittersphere to find their most popular Tweets of the last year.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia
Translation: "Hello Indonesia. I joined the world of Twitter to come share greetings, views and inspiration. Greetings."
President Abdullah Gül of Turkey
Translation: "Now everyone go home."
Queen Rania, the Queen Consort of the King of Jordan
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina
Translation: "His Holiness Francisco I."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Translation: "We congratulate the UAE and its president and its people and all residents have won at home to host the Expo 2020 exhibition the largest and oldest global #Expo2020."
Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto
Translation: "Well played, @CF_America! Congratulations to the players, the coaching staff, management, and the great Eagle fans."
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia
Translation: "We passed many hours of happiness with Diomedes Díaz songs. Peace in his grave.'
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
Translation: "Yes, & enjoyed myself for real. Do you have a license to drive a motorcycle? If so, next time we can act in the eighth Fast and Furious."