Jun 05 2014, 01:36 IST
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SummarySocial media has helped leaders establish a global presence in this age of uber-connectedness

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s official PMO

India page on Facebook garnered over one million ‘likes’ within four days of its launch on May 27. The official PMO Twitter handle is also being used extensively by Modi, the latest being his tweets on Gopinath Munde’s tragic accident. The PMO Twitter account had over a million followers, a number that is steadily rising. Modi’s personal Twitter account has about 4.5 million followers and his Facebook page has over 16 million ‘likes’. His use of social media is in line with global trends. Call it digital diplomacy, but the use of social networks has become an integral part of government communication. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, calls it “the new tools of 21st century statecraft.”

According to the Digital Policy Council, there is concrete evidence that platforms like Twitter have helped leaders gain a global “presence” in the highly-connected global community we live in. “The potential influence of Twitter to truly transform leaders is convincing—the way they think, the way they choose to act, and the way they guide and are guided by their people,” the Council holds. By the end of 2013, 4 out of 5 world leaders were using Twitter, which is up nearly 93% from 2011. Its ability to connect constituents with their elected officials and leaders makes it a uniquely valuable tool for politicians—both domestically and internationally. Currently, Obama maintains the top spot for world leaders, with 40 million followers. President Yudhoyono of Indonesia is in the number two spot with nearly 4.2 million followers. Next are king Abdullah and queen Rania of Jordan, with a joint Twitter account with 3 million followers. British prime minister David Cameron with 120,000 followers, is another keen user of Twitter, despite his comment in one interview that: “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it—too many twits might make a twat.”

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