Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is among the top 10 out of the 123 heads of state who use Twitter for citizen engagement, a new study revealed.
The study, World Leaders on Twitter Ranking Report, was conducted in December 2012 by the US Digital Policy Council (DPC), an international think tank group that promotes good governance and policy-making. The report analysed the social media presence, particularly on Twitter, of 123 out of the 164 world leaders.
“In 2012, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad gained 910,000 followers in just one year to have 1.3 million followers now. He regularly shared his thoughts, future plans, attended events and various achievements with citizens and followers,” the report read.
Shaikh Mohammad, who started using Twitter in 2009, had 351,817 followers in DPC’s report in 2010. This number increased to 445,725 by 2011, and has more than doubled to 1.3 million in just three years.
“The fact that Shaikh Mohammad has embraced social media is very progressive. For leaders wanting to reach out to their population, which in the Middle East is predominantly young people, social media is the best platform to use,” a top official at a leading social media specialist agency in Dubai, told Gulf News.
“It’s a fantastic record. It’s not easy to grow your followers. For him to continually gain followers, that means people are interested, and remain interested in what he is doing. That’s a good sign of popularity,” the official added.
The more than 1,200 tweets of Shaikh Mohammad touch upon issues that are close to people’s worries and concerns – both UAE nationals and expatriates. Through his Twitter page, he shares his aspirations, vision, and even felicitations on different national and social occasions related to economic, social, and cultural issues.
Shaikh Mohammad also uses his page to inform his followers personally about his official and non-official activities, focusing on his impressions and the outputs of these activities, which is a positive thing according to Menar Media. “It [using social media] gives a leader, a popular person, much more of a human element and that is a good thing.”
Last year, Shaikh Mohammad’s Twitter account saw an unprecedented activities where he launched a raft of humanitarian initiatives, the latest of them was his instructions to the concerned authorities not to make any celebrations for the Accession Day on January 4.
“In the last two years, we highlighted key segments of the community that deserve our gratitude and attention such as orphaned children and mothers. This year, we focus on a new group: general labour employees such as gardeners, janitors, construction workers, domestic workers among others. These groups play an active role in society,” Shaikh Mohammad said when he launched the community-driven initiative through his Twitter account. He also launched the ‘’Union Tree’’ initiative through his Twitter page.
This year, DPC noted a tremendous growth in the number of governments embracing social media. For its first report in 2010, as many as 33 world leaders or one in five used Twitter. Two years later, the number has increased to 123 which means three out of four heads of state currently use Twitter to interact with people.
Based on the 2012 study, US President Barack Obama is by far the most “followed” world leader on Twitter, with 25 million followers.
- With additional inputs from WAM