U.S. Ambassadors to Europe on Twitter

On March 24, 2014, I participated in a Google+ Hangout hosted by Twiplomacy, the topic of which was, “Should Leaders Tweet Personally?”  It was my first G+ Hangout, and I must admit that I liked it.  One of the points brought up was the difference between the official embassy’s account versus the ambassador’s account and it got me thinking about the extent to which US ambassadors to Europe-Eurasia are on Twitter.

Both Amb. Nicola Clase, Sweden’s ambassador to the UK, and Amb. Tom Fletcher, the UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, spoke about the importance of Twitter as a tool of diplomacy.  Each of them spoke on how Twitter can be used as a way to gather information.  Amb. Clase mentioned that ambassadors can lose out by not being on Twitter.  I was especially impressed with Amb. Fletcher’s remarks.  At one point he argued that, “The greatest risk is not making a mistake on Twitter; it’s not being on there in the first place.”  He went on to use an official reception as an example.  If an ambassador was at a reception, he/she would not just stand silently in corner, nor would he/she stand there and shout their message without talking with others; instead, the ambassador would exchange views with others and engage in conversation.  The same should be true also of an ambassador’s presence on Twitter.  Along those lines, Róisín Traynor, website and social media editor for the Crisis Group, made a distinction between those officials who tweet themselves on a fairly regular basis and those who engage less but do so through Q&A sessions or Twitterchats.  I would hope that US ambassadors, at a minimum, are participating in such sessions.

Methodology
I used the US State Department’s website for embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions to Europe-Eurasia as my starting point to see who the ambassador is, and to see if they had a Twitter account.  If I could not find one on the embassy website, I then went to search Twitter.  The date in parentheses following “Twitter Account” is the date I checked Twitter for their information, NOT the date they were sworn in as ambassador.  Some established their Twitter account before they were sworn in to their current position.  Unfortunately, I do not have the means to obtain Tweet data for just their current post, only the time since their account was set up.  To obtain the date they joined Twitter, I used Twitonomy.

U.S. Ambassador to Albania
Alexander A. Arvizu
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Armenia
John A. Heffern
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AmbHeffern
Tweets: 5,073
Following: 711
Followers: 3,097
Joined Twitter: February 29, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Austria
Alexa Wesner
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @alexawesner
Tweets: 188
Following: 104
Followers: 675
Joined Twitter: October 7, 2013

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan
Richard L. Morningstar
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Belarus
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Ethan A. Goldrich
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Belgium
Denise Bauer
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @DeniseCBauer (locked account)
Tweets: 174
Following: 79
Followers: 40
Joined Twitter: January 20, 2011

U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia & Herzegovina
Charge d’Affaires Nicholas M. Hill
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria
Marcie B. Ries
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AmbMarcieRies
Tweets: 0
Following: 11
Followers: 27
Joined Twitter: August 27, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Croatia
Kenneth Merten
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus
John M. Koenig
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AmbJohnKoenig
Tweets: 62
Following: 70
Followers: 364
Joined Twitter: March 17, 2014

U.S. Ambassador to Czech Republic
Norman L. Eisen
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Denmark
Rufus Gifford
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @rufusgifford
Tweets: 1,553
Following: 446
Followers: 8,275
Joined Twitter: March 22, 2009

U.S. Ambassador to Estonia
Jeff Levine
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @amb_jeff
Tweets: 2
Following: 12
Followers: 77
Joined Twitter: October 9, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Finland
Bruce J. Oreck
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @helsinkiamb
Tweets: 43
Following: 8
Followers: 1,342
Joined Twitter: November 26, 2009

U.S. Ambassador to France
Charge d’Affaires ad interim Mark Taplin
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia
Richard Norland
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Germany
John B. Emerson
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @JohnBEmo
Tweets: 6
Following: 11
Followers: 118
Joined Twitter: February 4, 2011

U.S. Ambassador to Greece
David D. Pearce
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Charge d’Affaires ad interim M. André Goodfriend
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Iceland
Charge d’Affaires ad interim Paul O’Friel
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Ireland
Charge d’Affaires ad interim Stuart Dwyer
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Italy
John R. Phillips
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo
Tracey Ann Jacobson
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AmbTracey
Tweets: 489
Following: 133
Followers: 4,529
Joined Twitter: April 4, 2013

U.S. Ambassador to Latvia
Mark Pekala
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AmbMarkPekala
Tweets: 2,577
Following: 388
Followers: 2,178
Joined Twitter: August 7, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania
Deborah McCarthy
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): @AMB_DMcCarthy
Tweets: 861
Following: 349
Followers: 348
Joined Twitter: November 15, 2013

U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg
Robert A. Mandell
Twitter Account (as of March 30, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia
Paul Wohlers
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Malta
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Moldova
William H. Moser
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro
Sue K. Brown
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Netherlands
Timothy Broas
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @usambnl
Tweets: 10
Following: 35
Followers: 368
Joined Twitter: March 14, 2014

U.S. Ambassador to Norway
Deputy Chief of Mission Julie Furuta-Toy
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Poland
Stephen Mull
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @SteveMullUSA
Tweets: 10.8K
Following: 153
Followers: 15.1K
Joined Twitter: September 27, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Portugal
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim John Olson
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Romania
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Duane C. Butcher
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @duane_butcher
Tweets: 490
Following: 381
Followers: 75
Joined Twitter: September 30, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia
Michael D. Kirby
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia
Theodore Sedgwick
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia
Joseph A. Mussomeli
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Spain
James Costos
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @JamesCostos
Tweets: 30
Following: 215
Followers: 212
Joined Twitter: July 1, 2013

U.S. Ambassador to Sweden
Mark F. Brzezinski
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland
Chargé d’Affaires Jeffrey R. Cellars
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Francis J. Ricciardone
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Geoffrey R. Pyatt
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @GeoffPyatt
Tweets: 4,953
Following: 529
Followers: 15.3K
Joined Twitter: February 3, 2010

U.S. Ambassador to United Kingdom
Matthew W. Barzun
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @MatthewBarzun
Tweets: 475
Following: 296
Followers: 4,707
Joined Twitter: March 20, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Holy See
Ken Hackett
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Findings
First, I was surprised that while most of the embassies had a link to their Twitter account on the main page, some of them did not have a link for the ambassador’s account, and I had to do a separate Twitter search.  Of course, not even all of the embassies have Twitter accounts.  (For a list of all embassies on Twitter, see the State Department’s website for Global Social Media Presence.)

Second, out of the forty-six ambassadors to Europe-Eurasia, only eighteen have Twitter accounts.  Some of that is due to the fact that the embassies are in a transition waiting for a new ambassador.

Finally, the ambassadors to Ukraine and Poland each had over 15,000 followers.  I suspect that this may be due to recent events.  What surprised me is that the Polish ambassador had over twice as many tweets as his colleague in Ukraine.

In an attempt to make this information more useful, I have created a list on Twitter.  Thanks for reading.

Update, April 1, 2014: I realized that I forgot the information for the US Ambassador to the EU.  Here it is:

U.S. Ambassador to EU
Tony Gardner
Twitter Account (as of April 1, 2014): @USAmbEU
Tweets: 573
Following: 61
Followers: 6,396
Joined Twitter: June 15, 2011 (although I’m not quite sure if this was passed on from the previous ambassador, William Kennard)

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