His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, jumped two positions to rank as the fourth most popular global leader last year, according to the Washington-based Digital Policy Council (DPC) that released the report recently.
The Digital Policy Council (DPC) released its sixth annual ranking of world leaders on Twitter as a means of communication and diplomacy within the political landscape. Mirroring last year’s trend, new sign-ups by heads of state remain almost negligible in 2015. Analyses as of December 2015 reveal that 83 percent heads of state worldwide are active on Twitter. A total of 139 world leaders out of 167 countries had accounts on Twitter set up in their personal name or through an official government office, which reflects a mere 1% increase over 2014.
Sheikh Mohammed continued to make waves as he climbed up two spots and grew his account by almost 2 million followers in 2015.
“The significance of these (social media) channels lies in their ability to reach out easily to all members of the society through personal devices,” he said at a Social Media Influencer Summit, which he convened in 2015 to discuss legislation to insure the “best use of social media platforms”.
“It is our duty to help our young people and future generations by building a knowledge platform to protect them from any destructive and negative thoughts that affect their full potential and create constructive paths for Arab societies,” he further remarked. His Twitter feed is a testament of his vision for UAE as a pioneering state that believes in, using technology to fuel innovation in every walk of life.
Interestingly, at the second annual Dubai International Art Symposium, thirty artists from all over the world transformed humanitarian tweets by Sheikh Mohammed into works of art, aptly titled ‘Coloured Tweets’.
An avid poet, the PM also shares candid moments from his personal life with his fans including tweeting a picture of himself cooking food for his friends during a forest trip.
The Exclusive top 10 club
His last year in office notwithstanding, US President Obama continues his legacy of being the most followed leader. As of December 25, 2015, his fan base on Twitter stands at a whopping 67 million.
The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, remains steadfastly rooted to the second spot with a following of 17 million – as drawn to his viral selfies as they are to his 140-character updates.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, continued his steady ascent with a two-spot leap in 2015 to clinch the fourth spot worldwide.
Rounding off the tenth spot is President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the sole new entrant to break into the top ten list this year, with an impressive 4.1 million followers – a fact that hardly surprised anyone, considering Indonesia is one of the world’s most active Twitter-using country.
Jordan’s Queen Rania and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff were the female representatives in the male-dominated list, making their voices count while consistently increasing their follower base.
Political openness and stability is a key factor
The Council’s analyses indicated that 91.5 percent of the leaders of the world’s democracies tweet as well as 87.3 percent of politically stable nations. In contrast, only 64.4 percent of non-democratic nations have leaders that tweet as do only 61.2 percent of politically fragile nations.
In 2015, there were only 7 democracies in the world whose leaders are not tweeting to their citizenry, down from 10 in 2014. The three democracies moving off the “shame list” from last year include Denmark, Nicaragua, and Mauritius.
“The report reaffirms the fact that world leaders of politically stable nations tap Twitter for the potential for a greater level of engagement,” said Omar Hijazi, Managing Partner at Digital Daya. “Therefore, mediums of social engagement such as Twitter prove to be equalisers in that encourage the political process leading to a better connect between leaders and their citizenry.”