We sometime seem to miss the obvious when surfing the net and discovering possible hot news: to ask the ones who are involved.
When it seemed that the Dalai Lama had started to twitter, a lot of attention on the account http://twitter.com/OHHDL took place. More then 20.000 people around the world started to follow this account within 48 hours. And they spread the word: Dalai Lama on Twitter!
I don’t know if anybody else asked – there probably are many people in the twitterverse who were suspicious, as fake accounts are as usual on twitter as blue screens on a Windows-XP-computer. Though: I could not find anyone asking via Google or the twitter-search. So I asked the bureau of the Dalai Lama in India via Mail, since on their phone noone answered:
At 05:21 AM 2/10/2009, you wrote:
is it true that you or your office use the service Twitter (http://twitter.com/OHHDL) in order to talk with people? Or is this a fake account?
Does the Dalai Lama himself approve the textings and the communication over this service by twitter?
A few hours later, they answered:
Thank you for your inquiry. The supposed Twitter account attributed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and/or his office is not genuine. We would like to clarify that we do not have any official accounts with any social networking internet sites. The official website of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his office is located at www.dalailama.com
Best wishes. Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
This answer came from the official e-mail-adress which is mentioned on the well-known homepage of the Dalai Lama. The twitter account was a fake by somebody unknown.
Update: Shortly after being banned by Twitter staff for violating the company’s agreements for usage of twitter accounts, the unknown maker of the account http://twitter.com/OHHDL renamed it to http://twitter.com/OHHDLInfo – and made it clear in its bio, that it be „Not affiliated with the real Dalai Lama; Visit the official site www.dalailama.com for more information“. All existing 19.700 followers now follow a fake. The original account @OHHDL now states to be „The Official OHHDL Twitter Page“. My follow-up-question on this issue to the bureau of the Dalai Lama in India has been posted, but there is no immediate answer at present. It looks like the bureau has created this account anew – which would mean that the Dalai Lama or better his bureau is in real in charge on this Twitter account, but does not use it so far. But this is not yet confirmed.