04/28/2015 03:00 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 01:12 EDT

Harper's hockey bet among most popular world leader tweets in 2014: study

OTTAWA - Plenty of diplomatic deals get done on the margins of global get-togethers, but one conducted on Twitter in 2014 made Prime Minister Stephen Harper a digital star among his fellow world leaders.A new study on the online activities of politicians found Harper's tweet to U.S. President Barack Obama about their hockey bet at the Sochi Olympics was among the most retweeted of such missives last year.More than 23,000 people forwarded the good-natured jibe, which was likely written not by Harper himself but by the communications staff in his office who handle his account.The annual Twiplomacy study parses how prime ministers, presidents, heads of state and foreign ministries use social media in the name of diplomacy.Study author Matthias Luefkens says he's not surprised to see the occasional fun and quirky tweets getting the most traction, but it doesn't mean Twitter isn't used for serious exchanges.Among the other most widely circulated messages from world leaders last year was the Malaysian prime minister's confirmation of the crash of flight MH370 and the king of Spain abdicating the throne.