Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is a “surprise entry” into top 10 list of world leaders on Twitter, as compiled by Digital Daya, an online analytics firm from international governance think tank the Digital Policy Council (DPC).
Abhisit (@PM_Abhisit), ranked ninth with more than 137,000 followers, is one of only two representatives from Asia, the other being Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who came in fifth with 677,566 followers.
The top 14 world leaders, headed by US President Barack Obama, is below:
Highest ranking statesman, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is described as appearing…
“committed to a citizen-centric approach amassing an additional half a million followers over the last several months to gain over 700,000 followers on his Twitter account.”
While in reference to Abhisit, whose use of the social network has seen renewed emphasis since around May (see this post) , the report states:
Additional new entrants include Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand.
Twitter played a key role in the civil unrest in Bangkok earlier this year.
As many websites were blocked and Thailand’s traditional media clearly divided into pro- and anti-government camps, Twitter was a much valued source to Bangkok residents to understand the true situation on the ground and most importantly in local neighborhoods.
Despite his vast followers and recognition, the Abhisit administration has not used Twitter hugely, or in any particularly tactical manner – given what other world leaders have done and the report suggests – while it has been acknowledged that the account is run by Abhisit’s team and not the prime minister himself.
While Abhisit may rank within the top 10 world leaders on Twitter, he is not the most followed Thai on the service. That recognition goes to TV presenter Woody Milintachinda (@woodytalk) who, at the time of writing, has 148,919 followers – around 7,000 more than the Prime Minister.
Abhisit does, however, boast a larger following than controversial ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (@thaksinlive) for whom social media has been a key platform for communication since his absence from Thailand.
Comparing him to Thaksin, Abhisit follows considerably more Twitter users although he has sent roughly half of the number of tweets as Thaksin, whose use of the service has lessened considerably over the last few months.
Additionally, Abhisit’s use of Twitter has been recognised by service as his account is denoted as “verification” – marked by a blue tick – which is something Thaksin does not currently have.
Interestingly, some Thai ISPs have blocked access to Thaksin’s Twitter profile page, however this does not affect his tweets being received by followers in Thailand while other ways to find and follow him exist without incurring a block.
Below are the ‘vital statistics’ for Abhisit and Thaksin on Twitter: