The Pope…has Twitter?? Quite possibly the oddest notion I have heard all year, and yet it’s true. On December 12th 2012 Pope Benedict XVI, using the Twitter handle @Pontifex, sent his first tweet out into the world. The account, which is heavily moderated by the Vatican and probably not operated by the Pope himself (sorry for crushing the dream), is run alongside seven others which send out identical material in different languages. An obvious attempt to find their feet in a world that grows increasingly social media savvy and update the relatively stuffy image of the Church, this latest foray into social media comes after a Youtube account was launched in 2009. Proponents argue that the event is evidence of the progressive, innovative nature of the Vatican. Personally though, I don’t see there being much overlap between those who devoutly follow The Pope and those who devoutly use Twitter, which would render the whole thing just a little bit pointless. But maybe that’s a cultural thing. The guy already has way more followers than I probably ever will, so what do I know?
It remains to be seen exactly how effectively the Vatican will utilise the social networking site, and the jury is similarly still out on just how useful their ventures into social media will prove, but any development from this point forward has the potential to be highly fun to watch. Then again, the Pope getting drunk on church wine and embarking on an inebriated Twitter rant including Tweets such as ‘I hate same-sex marriage #killthegays’ is a prospect that seems unlikely to actually come to fruition. It’d be all kinds of hilarious if it did though, let’s be honest.