Despite the tech-savvy image of Estonia, relatively few Estonian politicians are using Twitter. ERR compiled a list of the most-followed ones.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves leads the pack. “Help! I'm being followed ;-),” were the first words of Ilves on Twitter when he joined in 2012. Soon afterwards, the president became an internet sensation when he used his Twitter account to criticize the New York Times blogger and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in response to a blog post questioning Estonia's economic recovery. "Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a "wasteland," Ilves tweeted.
According to statistics, Ilves has since not only become one of the most active Estonian politicians on Twitter, but one of the most prolific ones in Europe. Unlike many of his political colleagues in larger countries, he actually writes his own tweets, rather than letting PR-teams do it. Tweets about Russian aggression and cybersecurity are mixed with economic and startup success stories of Estonia, making his Twitter account by far the most international and sophisticated among the Estonian politicians.
With an exception of Mihkel Raud, a former TV-personality turned an MP for Social Democrats (SDE), and Indrek Tarand, an independent Member of the European Parliament, politicians from the Reform Party and IRL are more pro-active, and simultaneously more popular users of the social media tool than politicians from other parties. Taavi Rõivas has certainly become more international in his Twitter approach since he became Estonia's Prime Minister. Previously, his Twitter feed mainly consisted of posing pictures of him, but lately the prime minister has finally found some space for sophisticated messages as well.
Curiously, there is only one woman – Kaja Kallas, Reform Party Member of the European Parliament – in the top ten. Social Democrats leader Sven Mikser has a Twitter account with almost 1,000 followers, but he hasn't been exactly prolific – he joined four years ago, but his tally of tweets equals with a zero. Kadri Simson is the most popular Center Party MP, with 1,456 followers.
Top 10 most-followed Estonian politicians on Twitter (as of March 24, 2015)
1.Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President - 50,400
2. Mihkel Raud, MP (SDE) - 29,800
3. Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister (Reform) - 13,100
4. Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for Digital Single Market (Reform) - 12,600
5. Urmas Paet, MEP (Reform) – 6,331
6. Indrek Tarand, MEP – 5,576
7. Kaja Kallas, MEP (Reform) 3,865
8. Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform) 3,843
9. Marko Mihkelson, MP (IRL) - 3,599
10. Mart Laar (IRL) - 3,230
Editor: S. Tambur