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Merkel not yet 'Mutti' of the Twittersphere

Emma Anderson · 28 Apr 2015, 08:56

Published: 28 Apr 2015 08:56 GMT+02:00

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Unlike her peers, Merkel has yet to get with the times and start using Twitter, according to the annual Twiplomacy report.

Her spokesperson Steffen Seibert has been her voice on the social media site thus far, announcing her official statements, sharing photos and posting videos on topics such as her weekly activities.

Still, even Seibert fell fairly low on the rankings list at 68th place with a little more than 350,000 followers, just below the European Commission's social media team.

Germans in general have been reluctant to adopt Twitter. According to social media analysis company PeerReach, only one percent of internet users in the country actively use Twitter, compared to 11 percent in the US, 12 percent in the United Kingdom and a high of 33 percent in Saudi Arabia.

The study, released by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller on Tuesday, analyzed the Twitter use of accounts of 669 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 166 countries worldwide.

"Over the past years Twitter has become the channel of choice for digital diplomacy between world leaders, governments, foreign ministries and diplomats," the report states.

"Social media in general and Twitter in particular is no longer just an afterthought but an essential communication tool for governments to interact and broadcast 140 character messages and six-second soundbites."

As of March 24th, the most-followed world leaders were US President Barack Obama at 57 million followers, Pope Francis at 20 million followers across his nine different language accounts and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at about 11 million.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who once vowed he would "wipe out Twitter", banning the social media site temporarily in the country - was also among the top five with 6.1 million followers.

The Pope beat Obama for most effective world leader, with an average of 9,929 re-tweets per tweet.

The report showed the Mexican presidency account to be the most prolific, with an average of 68 tweets per day.

"This study illustrates that governments are becoming savvier and more professional in the use of social media," said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa, in a statement.

"It is interesting to see how foreign ministries have honed their social strategies and built substantial dedicated teams to manage their online channels. We believe corporations can learn a lot from governments and their leaders on Twitter."

SEE ALSO: Clueless Merkel forgets the 'F'-word

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Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

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