- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2013

President Obama remains the world’s chattiest leader, with a chart-topping 24 million followers on Twitter – far outpacing his nearest competitor, the cancer-stricken Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has 4 million.

The Digital Policy Council – a private, international think tank that tracks tweets by presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens – was astounded that Mr. Obama’s Twitter audience surged by 15 million in an election year.

When he won a second term on Nov. 6, his campaign tweeted: “Four more years.”

“Throughout the day, more than 31 million election-related tweets were sent out, creating the most tweeted-about event in U.S. political history,” the group said this week, releasing its annual review of world leaders with Twitter accounts. “In 2012, the Digital Policy Council observed a tremendous growth in the number of governments embracing social media.”

It found that 123 world leaders in 164 countries recognized by the United Nations sent out tweets last year, a 78 percent increase from 2011, when social media played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings.

Even some world leaders who had been resisting social media opened Twitter accounts last year.

“You’ve got to get with the program, I suppose,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said after sending his first tweet in October at his Conservative Party’s political convention.

Mr. Cameron, with 190,000 Twitter followers, ranked 23rd among world leaders in the council report. He was a few points ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,with 129,000.

After Mr. Obama and Mr. Chavez, leaders on the council’s top 10 list are:

Turkish PresidentAbdullah Gul, with 2.6 million followers.

Jordan’s Queen Rania, with 2.4 million.

Russian Prime MinisterDmitry Medvedev, with 2 million.

Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, with 1.7 million.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, with 1.5 million.

Colombian PresidentJuan Manuel Santos, with 1.4 million.

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