Is your president tweeting? If you’re from the United States, unfortunately, I can confidently say that the answer to this question is yes. In fact, the previous presidential election in the United States clearly demonstrated the political significance and power Twitter has. This continues to be exhibited through Trump’s reckless and embarrassing usage of Twitter on which he now has 28.4 million followers who can views his 34.8 thousand tweets. However, Twitter and social media in general seem to be much less politically significant in other countries, such as in Central and Eastern European countries.
Image courtesy of Flicker User IoSonoUnaFotoCamera.
I have come to this conclusion by collecting data on the presence Central and Eastern European presidents have on Twitter. I emphasize “presidents” as I am admittedly unfamiliar with the political structure of these countries and understand that in countries like Germany, where the president does not have a Twitter, there are more notable figures such as Angela Merkel who are on Twitter (though she has only tweeted 17 times and has less that 6,000 followers). This aside, when finding these political figures on Twitter, I looked at the following:
Followers: The amount of followers indicates how successful the politician has gathered an audience on social media. We can imagine that the larger the audience, the more important Twitter is.
Tweets: The amount of tweets the leader has expresses their usage of spreading messages through the Twitter channel.
Date of Last Activity: From this, we can conclude whether or not the politician is consistently active on Twitter.
Language: The language that the politician tweets in indicates whether there is a local or global emphasis on the use of political Twitter. If the president is not tweeting in English and is tweeting in a lesser known language such as Serbian or Ukrainian, it is likely they are not tweeting with a global audience in mind. (Twitter does allow some tweets to be translated, however).
To organize this data, I made the following table:
From this, it is apparent that though many of the Central and Eastern European presidents are active on Twitter, they do not have nearly as large of an audience as President Trump. Some of these presidents do not even have a Twitter at all. For those that do, the followers range from 1,215 to 1.12 million followers, only 4% of the amount Trump has. This can be accredited to the language that some of the presidents are tweeting in or to the number of tweets they have sent out. Altogether, though, the difference in the amount of followers between the Ukraine president, who holds the most of Central and Eastern Europe, and President Trump makes it possible to presume Twitter is not as politically important in this geographic area.
Conclusively, when thinking about Twitter and its use as a political tool, we must understand that it has made its most significant place in American politics. Whether or not it will become more popular in Central and Eastern European countries will be told by time. Perhaps, there will be a drive for political leaders to become more present on Twitter in these areas. If so, I am curious to know what this will mean for Central and Eastern European politics on a global scale.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr User Andreas Eldh.