Saudi king trumps the Don­ald on Twit­ter

Sunday Times - - OPINION -

DON­ALD Trump may be light­ing up Twit­ter with strange new words and at­tacks on al­lies, but in the bat­tle for most at­ten­tion per tweet, the US pres­i­dent is los­ing.

The world leader whose tweets gen­er­ate the most retweets is Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Twiplo­macy study by com­mu­ni­ca­tions firm Bur­son-Marsteller.

In terms of out­put, there is no con­test: the Saudi king tweeted only 10 times dur­ing the pe­riod cov­ered by the study — April 2016 to May 20 this year. But those tweets were each retweeted more than 147 000 times on av­er­age, dwarf­ing Trump’s 13 100 av­er­age retweets per tweet, the study found.

“He [King Sal­man] posts ex­clu­sively in Ara­bic and with­out any vi­su­als, but ev­ery tweet is a dig­i­tal home run,” said the re­port, which was based on the anal­y­sis of 856 of­fi­cial and per­sonal Twit­ter ac­counts of lead­ers in 178 coun­tries.

But retweets are only one mea­sure of in­flu­ence on the so­cial me­dia plat­form, and Trump is gain­ing ground else­where. With the in­ter­net pok­ing fun at his use of the word “cov­fefe” this week, the re­port found that @re­alDon­aldTrump could be the most-fol­lowed ac­count of a world leader by Au­gust. Pope Fran­cis is in the lead at the mo­ment with a com­bined 33 716 301 fol­low­ers over his nine lan­guage ac­counts. In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Narendra Modi is third with 30 058 659. — AFP

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