According to a recent study, only nine countries have their own Twitter account, while only three of these are officially verified by Twitter.
This study from communications firm Burson-Marsteller, entitled “Twiplomacy”, takes a look at the Twitter habits of 193 UN member states – and finds that most are really not all that Twitter-savvy at all.
The @GreatBritain, @Israel and @SouthAfrica Twitter accounts are all verified by Twitter, earning that little blue check mark in their profile.
The Antigua Barbuda, Barbados, Lithuania, the Maldives and Spain Twitter accounts are technically unofficial, but they’re used by their respective countries to encourage tourism and present the countries in a positive light online. The ninth official country handle, @Sweden, is run by a different Swedish citizen each week but apparently cannot be verified due to its “democratic” format.
Other than these nine countries, the Twitter accounts of most countries are owned by private citizens and are not sanctioned by the government. The study also found that three out of five were either dormant, inactive, suspended or protected.
The @Indonesia Twitter account is the most popular country account with over 193,000 followers, but it is unclear which part of the government runs it.
Matthias Luefkens, Burson-Marsteller’s digital practice unit head, isn’t surprised that more countries haven’t yet harnessed the power of the tweet:
“It is only just dawning on them that this is a powerful vehicle for communication. I think it will change quickly and governments will become more active.”