NEW YORK: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained intact in the list of top 10 leaders in the world with the most Twitter followers, it was the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who broke into the list for the first time, an annual global Twitter ranking has revealed.
At third spot, Modi with his Twitter handle @NarendraModi has close to 20 million followers on his personal account and 11 million followers on his institutional account @PMOIndia, which is at the fourth place. Last year, Modi was at third place with more than six million followers.
"@SushmaSwaraj is the most followed female world leader with 5 million followers at 10th spot, ahead of Jordan’s @QueenRania who has 4.7 million followers,” said the “2016 Twiplomacy” study by the global communications firm Burson-Marsteller.
US President Barack Obama is still the uncontested leader of the digital world.
“His @BarackObama Twitter account now has 75 million followers. He also leads the rankings on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ with his campaign accounts,” the study added.
When he leaves office in January 2017, he will become an elder statesman with a combined audience of 137 million followers, fans and subscribers, a social media footprint which will not be very hard to monetize.
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is the second-most followed world leader with more than 28 million followers on his nine language accounts.
According to the study, Twitter was used by world leaders or governments in 173 nations -- equal to 90 percent of United Nations (UN) member states.
By comparison, the social networking site Facebook was being used by 169 governments (87 percent), it added.
While video-streaming website YouTube comes third, used by 78 percent of all UN member states, photo-sharing website Instagram is used by 70 percent.
“This cross-platform study shows that world leaders are increasingly taking an integrated approach across several social media channels, an indication of where more and more business leaders are likely to move as well,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller EMEA, in a statement.
“We are seeing that world leaders are allowing people to ‘meet’ the personality behind the official title -- and that today, much more than words, creative or personal images get messages across most powerfully, a tactic that corporate leaders can use just as effectively," he added.
Abdullah Bin Zayed, @ABZayed, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, is the second-most followed foreign minister with three million followers, with US Secretary of State @JohnKerry behind him with 1.3 million followers.
Among the foreign ministries, the US State Department (@StateDept) is the most followed with 3.3 million followers on its multiple language accounts, ahead of the Indian Diplomacy with 1.3 million followers on its two accounts.