Tazpit News Agency, 27 Dec 2012
, Anav Silverman: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now tweeting in Arabic on a new Twitter account opened in mid-December. The development caught the attention of the Saudi Internet news service, Al Arabiya, which reported this week that Netanyahu’s Twitter account has drawn new followers from Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon, currently numbering 671 followers. ... In general, Middle East leaders are increasingly utilizing Twitter to engage people and one another, according to a study, called Twiplomacy conducted by the global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller in August of this year (twiplomacy.com). According to the Twiplomacy study, 'Twitter has become a new way to communicate with world leaders and a way for these leaders to communicate with each other.' ... One of the most active accounts in the Middle East belongs to Jordan’s Queen Rania who has 2.2 million followers, making her the fourth most followed world leader. The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has one million followers including 13 other world leaders, which makes the Dubai ruler the most followed by world leaders. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has 54,782 followers and is considered the most conversational, personally engaging in Twitter chats with his followers regularly. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Twitter account has little more than 1,551 followers while Netanyahu’s English account has over 129,000 followers. ... US President Barack Obama, the first world leader to sign up to Twitter in March 2007, is the most followed world leader with over 17 million followers and has the fifth most popular account, sandwiched between pop-stars Rihanna and Britney Spears. The second most followed leader is Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez with over 3 million followers." -- PNM Netanyahu's Arabic Twitter account is now up to 817 follows, but his account follows only 3. This is the typical pattern among such Twitter accounts of world leaders. The tweets are no doubt written by staff, and the very few who are followed are, if at all, read by staff.
See also video report by international television channel Jewish News 1, 30 Dec 2012