World leaders love Twitter

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Lookout

It’s not just celebrities who love Twitter: South American leaders, it turns out, heart to tweet. Some may even have gone overboard and may have over shared.

A Reuters story reports that when some 1 million protesters hit the streets to criticize the government of Argentina President Cristina Fernandez, she responded by posting 61 tweets over a nine-hour period.

According to the account, the posts from Fernandez ran the gamut from declaring herself “stubborn,” to defending the benefits of a state-run literacy program, to admiring a fresco in her “gorgeous” palace.

And in Venezuela, the candidates vying to succeed the late Hugo Chavez had a war of words on Twitter. The eventual winner of the election, Nicolas Maduro, who had been handpicked by Chavez, tweeted that his opposition was “fascist.” The losing candidate, Henrique Capriles, posted that Maduro was “an illegitimate president.”

Chavez, who had had his own TV show, had also taken to tweeting. He had 4 million followers when he died.

Being out of office hasn’t quieted the former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, who has ruffled feathers for apparently posting multiple tweets a day criticizing the current leader.

Over in France, public figures are only too aware of the impact a tweet can have. Valerie Trierweiler, the companion to the president of France, Francois Hollande, got in hot water for her impolitic post supporting the opponent of Hollande’s ex, who was running in a local election.

Maybe this explains former President Bill Clinton’s reluctance to try out the social medium. He only just joined with the encouragement of satiric news host Stephen Colbert, who first started Clinton with the Twitter handle @PrezBillyJeff.

Clinton officially introduced the more respectable @billclinton. Launched last week, the former president already has more than 500,000 followers.

Barack Obama, who famously would not give up his Blackberry when he got to the White House, rarely is the one tweeting from his account @BarackObama. If he does, the posts are signed “bo.”

There is one leader who's definitely not a Twitter fan. According to Reuters, Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, stopped tweeting after she was elected in 2010. An aide told Retuers, "She thinks it's a total waste of time."