The use of Twitter by state leaders and its impact on the public during the COVID-19 pandemic

Social networks are a useful tool for informing the public. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was through social networks that many state leaders have informed the public about their actions. I examine how many leaders used Twitter, in what way, and the impact they had on the public. In the context of Twitter, the impact on the public refers to the growth in followers as it signifies the increased interest of the public about information. In this article, I collected 50,872 tweets from 143 state leaders and created an original dataset containing information on the growth of followers. I used ordinary least square regression models. This led to the finding that 64.8% of UN member states had a leader that tweeted about COVID-19. Furthermore, a significant increase in the number of followers during the pandemic compared to months prior was noted. Since March, the pandemic has been a dominant topic on Twitter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest percentage increase in gaining Twitter followers was experienced by politicians who frequently tweeted and those who had a lower ratio of the number of followers to internet users. The research implies that citizens are interested in being informed about emergencies through social networks, and government officials should use them.
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