New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) is the third most followed leader on photo and video sharing website Instagram with 1.7 million followers, behind Barack Obama’s campaign account (@BarackObama) which is followed by more than 6 million people and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (@damedvedev), who has more than 2 million followers, said a new Twiplomacy study by Twitter Inc. on Wednesday.
Despite having posted only 37 pictures, Modi’s Instagram account remains marginally ahead of White House (@whitehouse).
According to the report, World Leaders on Instagram, which analyzed 305 Instagram accounts of world leaders, having a combined total of nearly 23 million followers, based on the data collated on 2 February. Modi is the second most effective leader, with 42,439 interactions (comments and likes) on an average per post, after Barack Obama who has more than 56,000 interactions for every post on the site.
The study also noted that the official account of Indian foreign ministry (@Indiandiplomacy) is the seventh most active Instagram account among all world leaders’ Instagram accounts. The Information Department of the government of Brunei is the most active government account, with more than four posts per day on an average.
The photo and a video sharing platform, owned by Facebook Inc., claims to have 400 million monthly active users worldwide.
Governmental Instagram usage is especially high in Europe, Latin America and among Asian countries, mainly among Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries, the report noted.
On how the governments use this social network, the report said, “Many politicians take to Instagram during election campaigns and use the network generally to show a lighter side of their personality." However, “once elected, their accounts become less interesting with less popular engagement", it said.
The White House, the report noted, generally posts pictures of presidential letters of pardon and Buckingham Palace posts selected royal letters, be it to congratulate the Davis Cup team or the latest British astronaut in space.
A number of politicians have also found promoting hashtags to support specific campaigns, such as the campaign to #BringBackOurGirls, (those who have been abducted by Boko Haram), or calling on followers that it is #TimeToAct to end sexual violence against women, initiated by the UK Foreign Office.
Governments and politicians also used the platform to break sad news and express condolences on Instagram, such as after the Paris attacks in November 2015 which drew international condemnation. Several world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, secretary of state John Kerry posted pictures signing the book of condolences in their respective French embassies. Similarly, after the downing of Air Malaysia flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak posted a black and white picture of his press conference and a black and white picture of the plane with the hashtag #PrayForMH17.
When it comes to being entertaining, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (@LeeHsienLoong) has turned out to be the most entertaining world leader on Instagram. “The 63-year-old politician has posted more than 40 ‘wefies’ or group selfies. Prime Minister Lee even posted a selfie from his hospital bed after surgery to remove his prostate gland," the report said.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (@damedvedev), according to the report, is an amateur photographer and occasionally takes pictures out of airplanes or helicopters on his trips around the country.
“His picture before landing on the island of Kunashir in Russia’s Far East provoked the ire of the Japanese government, which is claiming ownership over the disputed island," the report said.
“Medvedev also made a strong political statement when posting a picture of apples on an apple tree, claiming that “Our apples are no worse than foreign!" in reference to the import restrictions on Western produce in retaliation to the economic sanctions against Russia."
Medvedev is also one of the few world leaders, who posts solo selfies. “His mirror-selfie in an elevator to thank his 400,000 followers has become his most popular post, liked more than 200,000 times," the report said.