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@POTUS Tweets, 1.6 Million Follow

  • Sandra Lemaire

U.S. President Barack Obama's new Twitter account @POTUS

U.S. President Barack Obama's new Twitter account @POTUS

Less than 24 hours after U.S. President Barack Obama joined Twitter as @POTUS, he has over 1.6 million followers.

The Guinness World record for the fastest gain of a million followers is currently held by Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr. who achieved the feat in just under 24 hours (23:22) in April of 2014.

POTUS is the acronym for President of the United States and the White House says tweets from the account will be written exclusively by President Obama.

The president's short first message on the popular U.S. microblog site Monday was sent using the White House iphone and said simply: "Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.''

Former President Bill Clinton (@billclinton), who is one of the people Obama chose to follow commented on the tweet saying:

"Welcome to @Twitter, @POTUS! One question: Does that username stay with the office? #askingforafriend'' - a reference to his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is running for president.

"Good question, @billclinton," Obama replied. "The handle comes with the house. Know anyone interested in @FLOTUS?''

(FLOTUS is the acronym for First Lady of the United States).

"The @POTUS Twitter account will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people," a post on the White House blog said. "President Obama is committed to making his Administration the most open and participatory in history, and @POTUS will give Americans a new venue to engage on the issues that matter most to them."

Obama had previously penned tweets under the @BarackObama Twitter account, which is handled by the Organizing for Action group, the president's former campaign team. His messages have also appeared on the @WhiteHouse Twitter account which are, for the most part, written by White House staffers. When the president personally penned a message he signed them "BO" - his initials.

@BarackObama is the world's most followed and influential world leader on Twitter, with 59.3 million followers, according to the Twiplomacy Study 2015, which analyzes world leaders, governments and foreign ministries' use of Twitter as a diplomatic tools.

Other world leaders trail far behind: @Pontifex - Pope Francis' Twitter account has a total of about 20 million followers in various languages, the study found.

In Asia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi @narendramodi leads with 10.9 million followers.

In the Middle East, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan @RT_Erdogan has 6.1 million followers. Also popular is Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum @HHShkMohd with 4.04 million followers.

Africa's most followed leader on Twitter is Rwanda's President Paul Kagame @PaulKagame, who has 942,000 followers. Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta is also popular with 859,000 followers.

In Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron @Number10gov is the most followed EU leader with 3.24 million followers, while Russian President Vladimir Putin's official English language account @PutinRF_Eng has 246,000 followers.

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