History Made with Pope Benedict’s First Tweet

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People waited expectantly for days for the Pope, the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics, to do something that had never been done by a Pope before. He sent his first tweet. 

In the early morning hours, Pope Benedict XVI tried to modernize his church by reaching out to people through a much different means than the church has done in the past. He sent a tweet through his account dedicated to English messages and told followers how happy he was to contact them through Twitter and how touched he was by his followers’ response. Finally, he sent a blessing to anyone reading his tweet.

The same message was sent out seven times in multiple languages so that anyone interested could read what he had to say. He reached out in French, Polish, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Seeming to enjoy this new way of communicating, the Pope sent out another message in multiple languages. He urged followers to communicate with Jesus through prayer, help people who need it, and learn lessons from the Gospel.

Senior communications adviser at the Vatican explained the Pope’s use of Twitter. He said that the Pope is required to spread the word of God to believers and others, and the Vatican thinks that Twitter is an efficient way to spread the word and reach new followers.

His first day on Twitter was dedicated to answering followers’ questions on faith. This is a way to support his pronouncement that this year is the year of faith, which Catholics should use to form a deeper bond with Christ.

The Pope has several different accounts. The account he uses to send out English tweets, called @pontifex, boasted over 685,000 followers shortly after he sent out his first message. If followers of all of his accounts were added up, the Pope would have a total of more than one million followers.

Despite his impressive number of followers, the Pope still has large numbers to aspire to. For example, Lady Gaga boasts more than 32 million followers on Twitter. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the Pope to catch up.

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