Blog: Pope opens own Twitter account

8:11 PM, Dec 2, 2012   |    comments
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85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI officially launches his own Twitter account Monday and you won't even join Facebook?

I have a few friends who have adamantly refused to join Facebook, calling it a "time suck." One, whom I respect, even laughingly refers to it as "Facepage."

OK, I get it. But it's Pope Benedict XVI, who in June 2011 actually sent his first tweet from the Twitter account for the Vatican news site, @news_va_en, to launch the new site.

So he has some experience but this new one to be unveiled Monday during a press conference will be his own personal account.

Should be an interesting kind of press conference, as not only will Vatican officials be in attendance but Twitter officials as well.

Vatican officials say the pope will be composing the tweets for the new account himself. For the first tweet from the account, the pope will also press the button to send the tweet himself, but after that others will send the tweets on his behalf.

Button? What? From a phone? A computer? Does he have a personal cell phone? If so, is it a Samsung Galaxy where he can share playlists by touching phones?

See, the Twitter announcement has opened a whole host of social media questions about the pope.

But I digress.

The tweets will go out in English, Spanish, French and Italian. Sounds like a full-time job for someone at the Vatican.

But Twitter by proxy? Sounds like a Kim Kardashian ploy.

Will we see Twitpics of the pope as well?

No one knows what his Twitter "handle" will be. Some speculate that it will be Benedictus PP XVI, the pope's signature in Latin, with the "PP" standing for papa, the Latin word for pope.

After eight years of Latin (and five years of French) myself, even I can come up with something a little catchier.

And he certainly not the first church/relgious leader to tweet.

I've been receiving tweets from the Dalia Lama (@DalaiLama) and Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) for more than a year.

In fact, when Osteen was in Northeast Ohio in mid-July, I was on the patio of Brio at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst having dinner with a co-worker when Osteen walked right by us enroute to the Apple store there but I didn't receive a tweet from him that he was there.

But I digress again.

I must say that I have eschewed receiving tweets from the Church of Scientology from the get-go as a matter of personal policy. As an Irish Catholic, I just can't get distracted by the mind games and proselytizing.

Now having the pope tweet is not quite on the level of God sending the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai but I must say I look forward to receiving his tweets.

One more thing.

I can only hope that, with more than a billion Catholics worldwide, he can quickly gain more followers than those TV/Hollywood/rock star celebrities.

In the most recent stats, pop singer Lady Gaga has 31,759,185 followers; then Justin Bieber has about 30 million; Katy Perry and Rihanna have 29 million and 27 million (respectively); and in fifth place is President Barack Obama at 24,042,970.

Kim Kardashian has 16,758,362.

I can only hope that Pope Benedict XVI quickly surpasses them all and maybe "Benedict fever" will finally outpace "Bieber fever."

Enjoy your week.


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