“The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it — too many twits might make a twat.”
– David Cameron, Prime Minister for the United Kingdom.
Most major political campaigns of the last 5 years have been supported in some way or another by social media. It’s one of the most effective ways to communicate with constituents and supporters, and it can generate a substantial amount of hype about yourself or your campaign.
Those in the political field that refrain from using social media undoubtedly feel the heat: labels of being out of touch, perhaps uneducated, or overly secretive are just a few that come to mind. But, what about those world leaders that have taken social media, and adopted it so naturally that it becomes a part of their regimented routine? Below is a list of the top political twitter users that avoided being twats.
Prime Minister of Uganda
Mbabazi mans his own accounts as opposed to having a façade account that is manned by his Executive Assistants. Understandably, not everyone has the time to perfectly craft a well thought out message in 140 characters, but with the ease of access to these mediums, there is something to say for those politicians that choose to represent themselves online.
Amama Mbabazi’s banter is particularly charming. He makes it a habit to respond to all tweets directed his way and converses in a multitude of languages. Though he may not be the most eloquent in English, you can feel that his messages are truly heartfelt and unabashed.
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Najib Razak goes beyond the online connections on social networking sites by establishing unique opportunities. He is another world leader who is personally tweeting from his account, which makes his tweets far more intriguing. He even invited his 500,000th follower on twitter over for breakfast, proving that social media does have the capacity to transcend online territory.
Last month, Najib and Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) discussed potential collaborative efforts between Facebook and Malaysia. They discussed the notion of the digital divide which segregates world citizens categorically in terms of connectivity and how they would like to work together to lessen the gap by bringing internet accessibility and digital opportunities to those that are unconnected.
President of the United States
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Barack Obama (as cliché as that may sound). His social media clout is beyond any other politician. Though a team of politico-pundits meticulously writes his posts and controls his channels, once in awhile, Barack takes the reigns into his own hands, discussing light-hearted topics like his dog Bo.
Of course, we know the virality of Obama’s posts is unrivaled, steaming ahead of other politicians, celebrities and the like. In 2012, he nabbed the most retweets in the history of Twitter for his post election night tweet – a photo of him and his first lady, Michelle, hugging. The caption: Four More Years.
Obama’s personality, as contrived as it may be, really shines through on social media. He encapsulates numerous elements that make a post interesting; they’re concise, informative, personable and/or humorous. He is also known for utilizing unconventional methods of engaging with his audience, being the only President to participate in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit.
He even managed to incorporate references to one of most popular internet memes during this session, the ‘not bad’ meme which depicts himself with an over-exaggerated expression. The event has since been described as Obama winning the internet (if he hadn’t done so already).