It may not be doomsday, but 12/12/12 is an important date in social networking history. The Pope joined Twitter and reportedly, he had trouble sending out his first tweet. He was assisted by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli of the Vatican’s communications department.
The Pope still writes his speeches by hand, so technology may be challenging, especially if you consider that he used a tablet for the purpose. But with help from Celli, the first tweet in papal history went live – a blessing for his followers:
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
At the time of this report, there were already over 750,000 papal followers to speak of. In the real world, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church already has 1.2 billion followers. Can he manage a similar record on the social network? And does anyone expect the Pope himself to manage all 8 Twitter (Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French) accounts created today? Reuters’ Philip Pullella reported that there will be other languages added in the near future, and that the Pope won’t be following anyone else on Twitter (but, of course, other official, language-specific, @Pontifex accounts).
How do you feel about a papal presence on Twitter? Was it necessary? Does it make sense? Will he manage the accounts in person, or will he need help, again, from the communication department of the Vatican?