Pope Benedict may have more than one billion followers in the religious sense, but in the digital world, he’s about to experience “followers” of a different variety- specifically, those who will follow him on Twitter.
The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Benedict is coming to Twitter on December 12th with the handle @pontifex. “The handle is a good one. It means ‘pope’ and it also means ‘bridge builder’,” Greg Burke, a senior media advisor to the Vatican, said this morning.
85-year old leader of the Catholic church has been expected to make a social media debut on Twitter for quite some now. It now looks as though he will before the Christmas holiday.
According to published reports today, “all the pope’s tweets are the pope’s words. Nobody is going to be putting words into his mouth.”
The tweets will be released in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. More languages, we’re told, will follow.
Current plans, however, do not call for the Pope to follow anyone on Twitter.
“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,” Burke said of the church’s social media efforts.