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From the CIA to North Korea and Cher, the most unlikely people to follow on Twitter

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The CIA joined up to Twitter at the weekend, much to the delight of the chatterati classes (and criticism from some). The highly secretive US spy organisation even pulled a bit of a funny with its opening gambit, "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet..."

It's hard to imagine the real-life equivalent of Carrie Mathison and co. tweeting away merrily from Langley, but the CIA is not the only high-profile organisation to be lured in by the appeal of the eponymous social media site. Everyone from North Korea to the Pope and Hugh Hefner have succumbed to Twitter's charms in the past few years, joining a real-time global conversation with their own thoughts and insights. Read on for our pick of the most unlikely Twitter converts:

Photos: Rex Features

The CIA

@CIA

As Twitter bios go, the CIA's is not exactly modest: "We are the Nation's first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot". Some critics have already slammed the move, accusing the agency of trying to sanitise its murky history of torture and murder.

The US intelligence agency has so far remained coy on the tweet front, posting just three messages (including a promise to share "#unclassified content"). Who knows what will follow: burger snaps from the CIA canteen? Real-time updates from Afghanistan? Stay tuned.

Pope Francis

@Pontifex

Yes His Holiness is on Twitter, reaching out to his +4million followers with messages of hope, prayer and pearls of pious wisdom. The Pope has what looks to be an exacting Twitter policy, releasing no photos and following just eight people - different language translations of his own account. He's pretty engaged, posting every day or so and responding to breaking news such as the South Korea ferry disaster and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Cher

@Cher

There's no turning back time for music's most enduring pop queen, who has helpfully listed a few of her pet hates in her Twitter bio (littering, chewing gum and walking past homeless people without smiling, in case you're wondering). Cher is bang on trend when it comes to Twitter, posting a colourful combo of semi-rants - typified by rampant use of capitals and not always 100% coherent - candid selfies, lolz snaps and backstage photos such as her personalised Cher chocolate bars.

North Korea

@uriminzok_engl

The world's most elusive nation signed up to Twitter in 2010 under @uriminzok, declaring: "The Web site 'Our Nation' is on Twitter". @uriminzok_engl is the literal English language translation of its official news feed. Because of this it doesn't always make a lot of sense - but there's no mistaking its fervent political stance, with references to "U.S. imperialists" and "South Korean lunacy". Still, it makes a change from the guarded approach of most public figures on Twitter...

Hugh Hefner

@hughhefner

If you've ever mourned the loss of Girls of the Playboy Mansion, fear not - the guy at the top is happy to welcome you into the inner sanctum of all things Playboy via Twitter. Octogenarian Hugh Hefner is a vibrant member of the Twittersphere, tweeting vintage photos from the golden days of Playboy, as well as a host of present day snaps of him surrounded by buxom ladies including his wife, Crystal Hefner.

The British Monarchy

@BritishMonarchy

This is the official Twitter account of the British royal family, but if you're expecting rants from Prince Charles, style tips from Kate or the occasional drunken missive from Hazza, you'll be sadly disappointed. @BritishMonarchy is a straight forward catalogue of photos, videos and updates from official Buckingham Palace engagements and is largely informative in tone, if a little bland.

Queen Rania of Jordan

@QueenRania

More exciting is the feed of Queen Rania of Jordan - "a mum and a wife with a really cool day job..." This real-life monarch treads a great line between queenly diplomatic tweets about events and engagements, and more informal snapshots into her daily life. Most of her tweets are in Arabic with the occasional English message and plenty of interesting photos.

The Dalai Lama

@DalaiLama

As you might expect, the official twitter page of the Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is filled with warming messages of compassion, love and respect for our fellow beings. If you love your daily hit of meaningful-but-not-cringy life quotes, this is the place to go. With practical, simple mantras on happiness and fulfillment - worth more than any self-help tome - we're not surprised the Dalai Lama has amassed nearly 9million followers.

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