International imponderables via Brian Solis:
Twitter is redefining the way we communicate – and that includes our world leaders: 15 of the G20 governments use it. But the question is who follows who, who doesn’t follow who, and do world leaders even realize the diplomatic significance of their tweets and Twitter friendships?
Barack Obama was the first to use the micro-blogging service to communicate with his electorate in 2008. His Twitter account @BarackObama, is now the most followed of all world-leader accounts, with 7.4 million followers (only @LadyGaga, @JustinBieber and @BritneySpears have more!) Twenty-eight different world leaders follow @BarackObama, yet notably the @WhiteHouse – the US government’s official Twitter account – doesn’t. Is this because the White House appreciates that the @BarackObama account was set up by Obama for America committee with one sole purpose in mind – to win him the US presidency?
Or is it simply a classic case – not atypical – of a world leader not quite appreciating the art of Twitter diplomacy? Twitter connections between world leaders say so much about current diplomatic relations, and while world leaders are starting to ‘make friends’ on social networks, they are not all mutually following each other. The Australian prime minister (@JuliaGillard) doesn’t return the follow of her counterpart in New Zealand (@JohnKeyPM), Israel’s prime minister Benjamin @Netanyahu doesn’t return Palestine’s friendship (@PMFayyad): look closely and these are but two of dozens of diplomatic faux pas on the Twitter social network.
I remember not understanding how big a deal it was that Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands. I can only imagine the future: BREAKING - Pakistan unfollows India! — Michael
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