Just after the new year, the Washington Post advertised a recent study showing that an increasing amount of world leaders are taking to Twitter to increase their reach to nationals, 140 characters at a time. While this new report from the Digital Policy Council does show a significant upward trend in the number of leaders that take to Twitter (75% increase from 2011), the more revealing graph is the one below that highlights which country’s heads of state have the largest amount of followers and supposedly the larger trend towards open government.
The Wash Post continues to state that “the numbers sound like a big win both for Twitter and for open government, which have gone hand-in-hand since even before the Arab Spring uprisings popularized social media as a form of civic participation in 2010.”
But does the increased activity of a country’s leader (or their designated ghost tweeter) on Twitter really indicate a broader move for an open and transparent government? Is this a necessity for governments whose citizens are simply more active on Twitter?