It is great to see that Pope Benedict XVI and other religious clergy are keeping up with social media and the trends of the digital marketing world. Today, he officially joined Twitter @Pontifex (defined as ‘pope’ and ‘bridge builder’) and the world has been very receptive and interested in following the 85 year old religious leader.
By 3:00 pm EST, he has 207,750 followers and the numbers are growing by leaps and bounds at every “refresh” of the page. Could this be a world record for first day followers on Twitter?
Pope Benedict XVI is following seven versions of the same account, in languages of German, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Polish and Portuguese. Statements have also been made that he will not be following anyone…so not to worry if he doesn’t follow you back.
He has yet to send out a tweet but there was an announcement that a tweet would not be sent out until at least Wednesday, December 12th, according to the Vatican. We will have to wait with wonder to see what this first tweet will be on his account. It will not be Pope Benedict XVI’s first tweet though as has sent tweets before using the Vatican’s official account in 2011.
Whether the tweets will regularly be sent out by the Pope himself or someone managing the account, remains to be seen. Any tweets sent though will be a spiritual reflection or quotes from what he has shared to others. Also, the first papal tweets will be answers to questions sent to #askpontifex. Other tweets will come from various weekly, holiday and major world events, including natural disasters.
Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican, shared, “This is the new market of ideas and the Church has to be there. We want to use any method to spread the message. It’s cost-effective and not very labor intensive and it is aimed at young people.”
Definitely an interesting way for the Vatican and the Pope to enter into this type of media, maybe with a new approach to reaching the masses. Isn’t this what social media is also about?