Who’s the most influential world leader? It’s a debatable point, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more influential than U.S. president Barack Obama. Obama, of course, is on Twitter – and has been for some time – so by definition he must be the most influential head of state on there, too, right?
Wrong. At least according to one new study, which suggests that it’s Pope Francis who is actually Twitter’s most influential world leader. Pretty good going, when you consider that “he” has only been tweeting since last December.
Twiplomacy identified the Twitter accounts of 505 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 153 countries worldwide, analysing each leader’s Twitter profiles, tweet history, and their connections with each other. The survey discovered that the Pope, whose English-tweeting @Pontifex account was started on December 12, 2002 (albeit under a different Pope) and quickly expanded to eight additional international profiles, is Twitter’s most retweeted world leader. Indeed, it’s the Spanish-speaking @Pontifex_es account which is the Pope’s most engaged account, receiving an average of 11,116 retweets for every tweet sent. The Pope’s English tweets receive an average of 8,219 retweets, which is hardly shabby.
In comparison, and while the President’s November 7th “Four more years” tweet has become Twitter’s most retweeted post of all time, Obama averages a relatively paltry 2,309 retweets per tweet overall.
Of course, few of these world leaders are actually tweeting themselves – the Pope certainly is not – and we can debate whether retweets indicate true influence (this would mean, after all, that Justin Bieber and the members of One Direction are the most influential humans on the planet, which is, of course, nonsense), but this is interesting stuff. Check the infographic below for more detail from the survey.