Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama wave during the G7 family photo Thursday June 5

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama wave during the G7 family photo Thursday June 5

Study praises Canada’s digital diplomacy

Study praises Canada's digital diplomacy; finds Pope most influential tweeter

By Abdul Latheef, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Canada is among a small group of countries that have Twitter accounts for most of their embassies and missions, a global study revealed Wednesday.

The study, called Twiplomacy and conducted by the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, looked at the use of the microblogging site by heads of state and by governments and ministers of foreign affairs.

“Not a week goes by without a new Canadian embassy setting up shop on Twitter in English and French,” it said.

“Ottawa, which was once described as a laggard in digital diplomacy, has now caught up with its peers.”

But when it comes to personal Twitter accounts, Prime Minister Stephen Harper languishes in 44th spot among 50 world leaders, with more than 478,000 followers.

That’s a far cry from U.S. President Barack Obama, who remains the most followed world leader on Twitter with more than 43 million followers.

However, the study found that despite Obama’s huge following, he is not the most influential leader in the twitterverse when it comes to retweets. That honour goes to Pope Francis, who has 14 million followers on nine different language accounts.

“His Spanish tweets are retweeted on average more than 10,000 times each … In comparison, Obama’s tweets are only retweeted an average 1,400 times each,” the study said.

Rounding off the top five on Twitter are Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the White House and India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, whose number surged following his election in May.

“He (Modi) is expected to surpass the United States White House account within the next days and is using Twitter as a power tool to broadcast his messages,” the study predicted.

Foreign ministers, meanwhile, are using Twitter to create a virtual diplomatic network, the study said. France’s Laurent Fabius, who has connections to 91 peers and world leaders, tops that list.

“It is interesting to see how foreign ministries have created large digital networks on Twitter where not every tweet is approved by lawyers and press officers,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Corporations and CEOs can learn a lot from politicians on Twitter, in terms of embracing digital tools for communications and how to connect with peers and influencers.”

The study also found that few world leaders are actually posting tweets themselves. Estonian President Toomas Henrik Ilves, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Finnish Prime Minister-designate Alext Stubb are among the exceptions.

“Twitter has become a powerful channel for digital diplomacy and 21st century statecraft,” said author Matthias Lufkens of Burson-Marsteller.

“World leaders might not necessarily read the tweets addressed to them, but their teams certainly monitor the Twitter activity.”

For the study, Burson-Marsteller analyzed 645 government accounts in 161 countries in early June.

Just Posted

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Most Read