10 World Leaders Who Rule on Twitter

India's head of state, Modi, especially leverages social media

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has 7.1 million Twitter followers. Photo: Getty Images

What do President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Queen Rania of Jordan have in common? They are among the most powerful political Twitter elite on the planet.

In fact, when India's new prime minister, Modi, took power five months ago, he actually stopped giving interviews to local reporters and instead tweeted his photo opps to his more than 7 million followers, ranking him just behind the pope in Twitter popularity.

Local reporters aren't exactly happy about being cut out of the communications process, but Modi hasn't caved in to complaints by the Indian press corps who represent more than 12,000 newspapers, according to Bloomberg.

Modi has used Twitter to set the stage for diplomatic missions. For instance, before he visited Japan in August to seal a $37 billion infrastructure deal with Japanese Prime Minisiter Shinzo Abe, he tweeted in Japanese about India's good relations with that country.

Modi ranks high among political heavyweights that are firmly embedded in the Twittersphere. Here are the top 10 world leaders, according to their number of Twitter followers:

1. President Barack Obama (@BarackObama), 43.7 million
2. Pope Francis (@Pontifex), 14.1 million
3. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi), 7.1 million
4. Outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono), 5.6 million
5. Former Turkish President Abdullah Gül (@cbabdullahgul), 5.1 million
6. President Obama’s Admin Account, White House (@whitehouse), 4.9 million
7. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan, (@RT_Erdogan), 4.9 million
8. Queen of Jordan Rania Al Abdullah (@QueenRania), 3.3 million
9. HH Sheik Mohammed United Arab Emirates (@HHShkMohd), 3.2 million
10. President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (@CFKArgentina), 3.2 million

For comparison's sake, Iran's Hassani Rouhani and Russia's Vladimir Putin are not quite so big on Twitter, according to this year's Twiplomacy study, with 266,000 followers and 148,000 followers, respectively.

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