April 21, 2014

Middle East leaders increasingly use Twitter to engage with citizens

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Twitter account

- His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is amongst the most followed leaders in the region
- Arabic is the fourth most used language for world leaders on Twitter

Dubai, UAE; August 8, 2012: Leaders in the Middle East are increasingly using Twitter as an effective tool to inform their people and engage with them, according to public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller’s recently released “Twiplomacy” (http://twiplomacy.com) study.

The study is the first-ever global study of world leaders on Twitter that researches 264 heads of state and their institutions in 125 countries of which 21 were from the Middle East and North Africa. The study analyses their Twitter profiles, their tweet history and their connections with each other.

The study shows that almost two-thirds of world leaders have a Twitter account. From the region, active leaders on Twitter include: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has just crossed the 1 million mark in followers; Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (2,222,872 followers); Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (69,217 followers); Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati (54,782 followers); Lebanese President Michel Sleiman (39,092 followers); Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad (1,551 followers); Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali (1,324 followers); and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki (385 followers).

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has 13 other world leaders following him, making him the most followed by leaders in the region. Her Majesty Queen Rania is the fourth most followed world leader (2,222,872 followers) preceded by Barack Obama in first position (18,223,342 followers). Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is the second most followed leader (3,276,230 followers) followed by the account of the White House (3,002,147 followers).

Of the G20 countries, 16 have a presence on Twitter. The Saudi Arabian government has an official portal with a Twitter account @Saudiportal (2,615 followers).

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Twitter account

The Twiplomacy study identifies Arabic as the fourth most used language amongst world leaders. English is the main language followed by Spanish and French. Leaders across the world tweet in a total of 43 different languages.

Thirty heads of state and government do their own tweeting. Amongst the Middle Eastern leaders, the most conversational is Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati who personally engages with his 54,700+ followers. One-fifth of his tweets are replies and he regularly has one-hour long Twitter chats with his followers. In November 2011, he organized a Twitter Q&A with UK Ambassador to Lebanon, @HMATomFletcher. Also, Lebanese president Michel Sleiman is one of the few heads of state that occasionally tweets himself, signing his personal tweets MS which are sent straight from his Blackberry.

“It is clear that leaders in the region have realized that social media is an effective tool to engage with their people,” said Sunil John, CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller. “Our 2012 ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey revealed that since the Arab Spring, nearly three-quarters of Middle East youth believe their government has become more trustworthy and transparent. They saw the Spring as a positive development and now feel greater optimism about the future. In that context, it is extremely encouraging to see leaders from the region use Twitter as a platform to disseminate information and communicate with their audience.”

The recently released Accenture Digital Citizen Pulse Survey affirms that social media is reinventing Government communication. Nearly 51 per cent of the respondents from the global survey believe that the ability to interact digitally with the government will encourage them to be more engaged with government. (http://bit.ly/OTI46n)

According to Dubai School of Government’s recent Arab Social Media Report, the Arab region has close to 2.1 million active Twitter users tweeting almost 4,000 tweets a minute. The top five Arab countries in terms of Twitter users are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.

To access the complete analysis of these findings, visit: http://www.twiplomacy.com
To access the 2012 Arab Youth Survey, visit: www.arabyouthsurvey.com

About the Study
Data used was taken in July 2012 from the accounts of 264 heads of state and government and their institutions in 125 countries world-wide looking at over 30 variables using Twitonomy (http://twitonomy.com). Burson-Marsteller used Doesfollow (http://doesfollow.com) to analyze Twitter relations between world leaders and MyFirstTweet (http://myfirsttweet.com) to identify the first tweet of each world leader.

Number of Twitter followers in this release are as of August 5, 2012. Number of followers in the study are as of July 1, 2012.

About ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller:
Established in 2000, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller is the region’s leading public relations consultancy, with 11 fully-owned offices and seven affiliates across the Middle East and North Africa. A WPP company within the global Burson-Marsteller network, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller is a member company of the MENACOM Group.

The agency provides services to governments, multinational businesses and regional corporate clients through its seven practices in the sectors of Technology, Corporate, Finance, Healthcare, Consumer Marketing, Public Affairs, and Energy & Environment. Its services include reputation management, crisis & issues management, digital communications, media relations, media monitoring & analysis, and event management.

For further information, please visit: www.asdaabm.com.

About Burson-Marsteller:
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 83 affiliate offices, together operating in 108 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a unit of WPP, the world’s leading communications services network. For more information, please visit bm.com.

To learn more about Burson-Marsteller, please visit www.bm.com

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