A new study has revealed that the number of world leaders who have taken to Twitter as a form of digital PR has increased dramatically over the last 12 months. In 2011, 69 world leaders were identified as actively tweeting, whereas at the end of 2012, 123 Presidents and Prime Ministers had chosen to engage with their countrymen and the rest of the world through the popular micro-blogging site.

Digital Daya’s recently released report demonstrates a 78% increase in just one year and puts the number of Governments on Twitter at three out of every four. So, while Facebook might be the most popular network for learning more about brands, Twitter is the place to be if you want to keep track of what heads of state are thinking, albeit in 140 characters or less.

President of the United States, Barack Obama comes out as the most popular world leader on Twitter, boasting over 25 million followers, having acquired 15 million more while winning a second term. He also made Twitter history in November, when his ‘Four More Years’ tweet, accompanied by a photo of him hugging First Lady Michelle Obama became the most retweeted tweet in history.

Trailing firmly in President Obama’s wake is Hugo Chávez of Venezuela with ‘only’ 3.8 million followers. Fighting an election campaign from a hospital in Cuba, Chavez increased his followers by 2 million and in turn emerged the victor in October. President Abdullah Gül of Turkey rounds off the top 3, also increasing his following by 2 million in 2012 to 2.6 million followers.

One leader who changed his mind about having a presence on Twitter, was UK Prime Minister David Cameron who adopted the @David_Cameron twitter handle in October 2012 to compliment Downing Street’s existing @Number10gov. Gaining tens of thousands of followers within hours, the Prime Minister’s Twitter debut comes three years after his famous ‘too many tweets…’ quote and the change in attitude is testament to the platforms increasing influence, especially politically.

Based on current growth rates, Digital Daya’s report anticipates that nearly 100% of all world leaders will undertake Twitter PR sometime in 2013, rendering it as the de facto communication tool for all heads of state.