Barack Obama

The heads of state in three-fourths of the nations surveyed around the globe now use Twitter to communicate with followers, nearly twice the number from a year ago, according to a new report from the Digital Policy Council (DPC).

The report evaluated 164 countries (fewer than the 193 recognized by the United Nations) and found that the heads of state in 123 of those countries, or 75%, maintain a Twitter account.

That figure compares to 69 countries in an August 2011 survey, and represents a 93% compound annual growth rate since DPC started tracking the data in 2010.

“For a leader who a short time ago threatened to shut down social media services in London in the wake of rioting, Prime Minister Cameron’s reversal — ‘You’ve got to get with the programme’ — is quite telling,” the report said. Cameron now ranks 23rd on the latest list.

“The sheer popularity that social platforms like Twitter possess make it clear that traditional media channels are no longer adequate or in some cases, even effective. Leaders seek to be where their people are, and are recognizing, more than ever, that the options for communicating with their electorate have been redefined.”

Following are the top 10 heads of states using Twitter, according to the report, based on the number of followers each has attracted:

2012 Rank 2011 Rank Official (Twitter link) Country Followers (Million)
1 1 President

Barack Obama
United States 24.611
2 2 President

Hugo Chavez
Venezuela 3.802
3 11 President

Abdullah Gul
Turkey 2.576
4 4 Queen Rania

Al Abdullah
Jordon 2.459
5 8 President

Dmitry Medvedev
Russia 2.070
6 6 President

Dilma Rousseff
Brazil 1.752
7 9 President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner Argentina 1.461
8 14 President

Juan Manuel Santos
Columbia 1.455
9 5 President

Enrique Pena Nieto
Mexico 1.362
10 12 Prime Minister & Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohanned bin Rashid Al Maktourn United Arab Emirates 1.343

New to the Top 10 list this year are entrants from Russia and Colombia, along with the exit of some key Twitter enthusiasts due to political administration changeovers.

Not surprisingly, U.S. President Barack Obama, whose Twitter account dates back to March 5, 2007, has amassed the widest following worldwide of any head of state.

Other early adopters, however, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who began tweeting July 11, 2007, have found only a fraction of the following (Harper had 276,060 followers in the latest ranking.)

Most of the world leaders in the rankings have generally only recently joined the social media revolution in earnest, according to data cataloged in the report, which includes information on the political stability and social media “klout” scores of world leaders.

“As digital activism becomes more intensified, it is often seen as a threat to governments, but an outcome has been the steady increase in the number of heads of state that are using Twitter, and recognizing the benefits of the vehicle to allow for direct interaction with constituents,” the report noted.

Hope springs eternal, even here in the nation’s capital. After the election, both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner made nice noises. And many pundits hailed this, believing either that sequestration would get kicked down the road a fur piece or a Simpson-Bowles’ grand bargain was in the works.

The big sticking point — at least rhetorically — had been that the Democrats want higher taxes on those earning more than a quarter of a million dollars each year and the GOP does not. Then came the electorate’s rejection of Mitt Romney and the Democrat’s better than expected performance in the Senate. Add to that the defeat of several high profile Tea Party candidates and some argued that the stage was set for compromise. Keep reading →

For all the discussion about the economy in last night’s presidential debate and on the campaign trail, one key topic that the incumbent and his challenger have largely been silent about is what to do about the once-mighty engine of housing in America’s economy – and how it might get stoked once again.

As our AOL colleague Teke Wiggin, at AOL Real Estate, notes: Keep reading →

This is one in an occasional series exploring how federal agencies are finding and implementing innovative ways to drive efficiency and cut costs.

The federal government could save almost $5 billion annually by substituting video conferencing for face-to-face meetings and conventions, according to a new study by Telework Exchange, a public/private partnership emphasizing telework. Keep reading →

U.S. Chief Information Officer Todd Park talks about Health Datapalooza: A Model Of Innovation. The U.S. Census Bureau says Imagination at Work! Unleash Your Creativity With Our Census API.

Both deal with data. But which should it be: Innovation or creativity or both?

It’s question that deserves more than casual considering, and one I’m currently giving thought to for the upcoming Breaking Gov 38 Degrees Unleashing the Power of Government Data, Sept. 19, in Washington, DC.

It’s worth comparing the definitions. Wikipedia says: Keep reading →

As the Senate reconvenes to debate the Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity bill, President Obama himself has set the stakes in terms of preventing a future catastrophic attack. But some say the real and present danger is what’s happening under our noses right now, in an online theft of intellectual property that Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander called “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” Keep reading →

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has signed an agreement with Barnes & Noble to sell Federal eBooks.

GPO works with federal agencies to produce their publications, books, and reports in print and digital formats, including eBook formats. Keep reading →

President Barack Obama signed into law today a tax cut extension bill that includes long-awaited provisions for setting aside wireless communications spectrum to help build a nationwide public safety network for first responder organizations.

The allocation to public safety organizations of the much-needed wireless spectrum, known as the 700 MHz D-Block, comes exactly 10 years, 23 weeks and 4 days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – the event that highlighted in agonizing detail the inability of firemen, police and emergency responders to communicate in a timely, effective manner. Keep reading →

Proposed increases in federal technology spending aren’t just for back office operations; they’re also expected to help the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency track down illegal immigrants, weed out illegal job applicants and intercept would be terrorists.

Those are just some of the places where hikes in information technology spending in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget would be directed, if approved by Congress. Keep reading →

The United States will police the globe, respond to disasters and shape the international environment much as it has –though our sharpest focus will be on China and the western Pacific — but it will do all that with a significantly smaller land force than it currently has.