In the most alarming social-media event since that time your dad
poked you on Facebook, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea
has joined Twitter. This may seem unusual, as most brutal dictatorships do not
care for Twitter's favorite subjects—Justin Bieber, fantasy football tips, and retweeting the Fake AP Stylebook. But as a North Korea scholar explains to the Guardian, the country's rulers know "that they're not good at PR and so they're looking at ways to get the message out... The problem for them is not so much the use, it's the content because they're still politically stuck in a timewarp."
PC World's Martyn Williams further explains how the Fail Whale made it above the 38th parallel:
Late last week a Twitter account (@uriminzok) was set up by the Uriminzokkiri Web site. The site, whose name means "Our Nation," is the closest thing North Korea has to an official home page, and the site has a link in the upper right hand corner to the new Twitter account. Uriminzokkiri carries news and information and is one of the few Web sites believed to be run from the secretive nation.
The account has proved popular and has attracted more than 1,000 followers in its first few days online, but few if any are likely to be reading from inside North Korea. The government keeps a tight control on access to information, and few people are believed to have access to Internet connections that allow links to foreign sites like Twitter.
In other words, they're probably not going to retweet your "Top Chef" live reactions, either.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.