Time Frame: Tweets show world that UAE weather is snow joke

Powered by automated translation

This week the UAE amazed the world when snow fell and – like everywhere else when that happens – someone made a snowman. The sight of a snowman wearing a keffiyah sitting in the back of a pick-up on Jebal Jais in Ras Al Khaimah was soon trending on Twitter. The Independent newspaper in London reported that Emiratis were stunned by the unusually heavy snowfall:

“Pictures and videos of snowball fights, snowmen and tobogganing on Jebel Jais mountain on the UAE-Oman border quickly flooded social media as locals made the most of the freak weather,” it said.

As this image, taken the last time that Jebel Jais received a generous topping of snow on January 25, 2009, shows, celebrations of the white stuff are not so rare.

What’s more striking perhaps, is the way that these snow revellers are communicating with the outside world by proudly unfurling a UAE flag. Launched in 2006, Twitter was only freely available for use in the Emirates at the end of 2008, and by February 2009, The National reported that it had 5,000 active users. This had grown exponentially to 2.58 million user accounts by 2015.

Today, the exact number of UAE Twitter users are a much more closely guarded secret. But you can be sure that sometimes, just sometimes, there are still more snowflakes falling than tweets flying on Jebel Jais.

* Clare Dight

Time Frame is a series that opens a ­window into the nation’s past. ­Readers are ­invited to make contributions to yourpics@­thenational.ae