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Survey: In 140 characters, Pope Francis most influential

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 8:33 p.m.

Among world leaders who engage in twiplomacy — the use of Twitter for diplomatic relations — President Obama wins for the most followers, but Pope Francis is the most influential, according to a survey by Burson-Marsteller.

The global public relations firm found that more than three-quarters of world leaders are on Twitter, the social media site that limits tweets to 140 characters.

The president has more than 34.5 million Twitter followers. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is the best connected with 44 mutual connections with other world leaders.

Pope Francis, who started to tweet as @pontifex on March 17 — a few days after he was elected pontiff — has rapidly become a Twitter star, even though he has sent out only about 100 tweets. The study deemed him most influential based on the number of times people share his tweets — an average of 11,000 retweets per message on his Spanish-language account.

In contrast, Obama, the first world leader to sign up for Twitter in 2007, averages 2,309 retweets for every tweet he sends.

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