Follow The Leader

This is the map of international diplomacy according to Twitter, showing who follows who amongst all of the worlds leaders.

From this graphic you can see that the leaders on Twitter tend to be mostly those from the more powerful or emerging economic sector countries, with huge Twitter blackouts happening across most of Eastern Europe and nearly all of Africa and Asia.

Follow The Leader by Dave Bowker

An overview of the world showing what countries are active on Twitter and who’s connected to who.

Follow The Leader Detail 1 by Dave Bowker

You can see how South America really embraces Twitter, and there are lots of connections between the leaders of many countries.

I’m not sure how many leaders, if any actually run their own Twitter accounts, but you can see below the the @Number10Gov account at the time was run by a chap called ‘Ian’. This just makes me wonder if our leaders are actually aware of what updates are happening on Twitter, especially if the account profile is set up as the person instead of the leadership.

Follow The Leader Detail 2 by Dave Bowker

You can see how some of the leaders use Twitter to talk to one another, however not all Twitter accounts are actually run by the country’s leaders. Hello, Ian!

This is the map of international diplomacy according to Twitter. [The data was] compiled by Matthias Lüfkens, associate director of media at the World Economic Forum, it shows who follows whom among the world’s leaders (although, says Lüfkens, none tweets personally).

Twitter Data Set Update

This project was originally started in April, 2011 and although almost completed Wired, UK asked me to recreate the graphic based on a new data set they were given. The original author of the data set had updated it with many more accounts and lots more connections between leaders that the original format of the graphic would not have been appropriate.

“Things are moving fast in the Twittersphere but world leaders still don’t understand its global dimension,” says Lüfkens. “When I first presented this work [at Paris conference Le Web 2010], the @elysee account wasn’t even following its own ministries. But it is now.”

Follow The Leader Revised by Dave Bowker

The graphic shows lots more connections between accounts than the original version.

I’ve tried to put some of the bigger accounts in the centre of the graphic which is where most of the connections happen. Bigger accounts are indicated with a relatively sized node (circle), a mutual following between accounts is indicated with a thick blue line and smaller directional follows are shown with a grey line weighted thinly from its origin to a fatter destination.

Follow The Leader Revised Detail by Dave Bowker

You can really see how the bigger accounts are followed by, and follow lots of the other leaders creating a whole tangle of connections around them.

The accompanying article was written by Joao Medeiros and was published in the August, 2011 edition of Wired UK.

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