Carl Bildt, perhaps trying to convince the PM about the benefits of Twitter. Photo: Maja Suslin
The tides are turning in the political Twittersphere.
Sweden's foreign minister, who last year was crowned as the most well-connected foreign minister on social media site Twitter, was dethroned by France's Laurent Fabius – better known in Twitter circles as @LaurentFabius.
The Twiplomacy barometer, produced in conjunction with heavy-hitting lobbyists Burston-Marsteller, put @CarlBildt in second place behind the French minister, who boasts 101,000 followers to Bildt's 300,000.
Being mutually connected on Twitter, the study explained, allows leaders to have direct and private conversations with one another – in 140 characters (or less) at a time.
"A number of foreign offices have used this channel to reach out to peers and other influencers to set the record straight or to coordinate their digital outreach," Twiplomacy said in a statement.
Bildt, who told The Local in January that he had "been working with internet issues since the internet started", is an active Twitter user and tweets regularly in English.
The report added that the Swedish Foreign Ministry (@Swe_MFA) has made "a conscious effort" to make Twitter connections, unilaterally following 355 other world leaders.
When it came to the most followed world leaders, US President Barack Obama was far and away the number one with almost 44 million followers. Pope Francis came in a distant second with 14 million followers. Indonesia's President S. B. Yudhoyono was third with 5 million.
To put this into perspective, 20-year-old Justin Bieber has 52.5 million followers. Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, meanwhile, has none as he is yet to join the Twitter bandwagon.
Twiplomacy took the chance to praise Bildt for writing his own tweets. It also dished out social media cred to the prime minister of Belgium for chatting with followers on Twitter, and even discussing how he likes his french fries.
It pointed to the Finnish Prime Minister @AlexStubb, as an example of a thorough Twitter user. Stubb shares his athletic exploits, has a penchant for selfies, co-authored an e-book in Finnish about what to do on Twitter, and some of his tweets were even put to music.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, however, was called out for experimenting outside of his mother tongue, after his first tweet in English said "i'm coming on twitter".