Stephen Harper ranks 38th on world leader Twitter scale

Andy Radia
Canada PoliticsJuly 24, 2013

He's no Barack Obama, but when it comes to Twitter, Stephen Harper does okay.

According to a new Twitter analysis conducted by Twiplomacy, Canada's prime minister is the 38th most followed leader in the world with 357,368 followers (as of July 1, 2013.).

"Prime Minister Harper was the fourth world leader to sign up to Twitter in July 2007 in the footsteps of @BarackObama, however he only started to tweet in September 2008 asking his followers to 'check out the new Conservative Party website,'" notes the report.

"Although the tweets are written in first person he rarely writes the tweets himself. He often tweets, mostly in an informal way, about his vision for the country, his government actions and important days but he also lets followers enter his personal life. His Twitter account is also empathetic when needed, e.g. on the occurrence of natural disasters."

[ Related: Twittersphere mocks Stephen Harper during cabinet shuffle announcement ]

Harper, however, loses marks when it comes to Twitter engagement.

"Prime Minister Harper is not very conversational, only 2% of his tweets are @replies and 6% retweets," the writers of the report conclude.

"Photos are shared through Flickr and Instagram PM’s accounts and the most retweeted user is Canadian astronaut @Cmdr_Hadfield and his wife @Laureen_Harper_. Surprisingly @PMHarper only follows Russian Prime Minister @MedvedevRussia and Uganda’s PM @AmamaMbabazi but does not follow his peer at the White House."

Harper still has a long way to go to catch President Obama — the most followed world leader on Twitter — with his 33,510,157 followers. Pope Francis is next on the list with 7,200,332 followers and Turkish President Abdullah Gül is third.

How does Harper compare to other politicians in Canada?

According to Politwitter.ca, there are now approximately 245 — of the 308 — members of Parliament on Twitter and 229 have public Facebook pages.

[ More Canadian Politics: Civil society organization wants Stephen Harper to reveal his ‘enemies list’ ]

The impressive website, which 'broadcasts' MPs' Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and YouTube videos, also includes detailed statistics about the way Canadian politicians engage the public on social media.

Here are some of their top-line statistics:

Most Twitter followers (cumulative):

MPs on Twitter Total followers
Conservative MPs 133 667,124
Liberal MPs 31 442,715
NDP MPs 95 318,667
Green MPs 1 68,717
Bloc MPs 1 1,860

Most Twitter followers (by MP):

Followers
Stephen Harper 357,522
Justin Trudeau 239,212
Denis Coderre* 109,506
Elizabeth May 68,717
Thomas Mulcair 42,228

*Coderre retired from Parliament last month

Most engaged tweeters (ie: they reply and their tweets get replies):

Tony Clement (CPC)
Elizabeth May (GPC)
Carolyn Bennett (LPC)
Dan Harris (NDP)
Michelle Rempel (CPC)

(Photo from Stephen Harper's Twitter account)

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