In his latest embrace of social media, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has signed up to Twitter, updating his "followers" on his life in 140-character messages. He has been "tweeting" under the name HHShkMohd over the past month, but the profile was only officially verified by the website last week as genuine.
The website's administrators verify a famous user's identity only upon having contacted the person directly. Sheikh Mohammed's "tweets" include details of horse races he has attended and updates on decisions on school term dates. "Attended Newmarket racecourse in England & watched UAE horse, Fryvolous, take the honours in the Abu Dhabi Race for Purebred Arabians", he wrote last Thursday, in his first message after the account was verified.
Last month, Sheikh Mohammed signed up to Facebook, providing the public with a rare insight into his life. He has also used his website to field questions from the media and the public. Sheikh Mohammed joins a wealth of high-profile tweeters, including the US president Barack Obama, the British actor and writer Stephen Fry, and the record-breaking Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong. Officials at Buckingham Palace created an account for the British royal family last week.
In response to questions posted on the site regarding term dates for private and British schools, following the announcement that public schools in the UAE will not open until after Eid, Sheikh Mohammed said he would address the queries. "Will be able to confirm in 10 days time, the date when private and British schools will be reopening in the UAE," he wrote on July 10. Sheikh Mohammed has 1,140 followers and has made 20 updates.