Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Social Media and the Pope

When Pope Benedict XVI steps down on February 28 he will not only be handing the seat as Pope off to the next person elected but he will also be relinquishing his social media accounts. His most prominent social media account is his Twitter @Pontifex since sending his first tweet on December 12 the Pope has sent over 30 tweets and has amassed over 1.5 million followers. Thats a pretty large following. 

When originally making the Pope’s twitter account Forbes Magazine reports that the Vatican’s officials were hesitant to make the original account because of all of the negativity that may surround the creating. Monsignor Paul Tighe who is one of the leaders of the Popes social media efforts even said that when Benedict originally posted they did receive some nasty and spiteful attention. He also added though that while there was some negativity like they'd planned there was also a lot of goodness to come out of the creation. It will most likely be considered a stepping stone to getting the next Popes messages out to the world faster than ever and with more reach than ever before. 

When people talk about Pope Benedict in the future it is possible that they will speak about him in a manner that he was the Pope to bring the Vatican into the digital age. Benedict's Successor will have an amazing opportunity for himself to be able to grab the bull by the horns and jump head first into the social media world.One of the first steps that may need to be taken for the next pope is to have someone on board who truly understands social media. The current system while it is the best they can do is not necessarily working. The entire Vatican is running its social media without a single social media expert.  

Pope Benedict XVI sending his first Tweet via an iPad. Picture: The Guardian, UK

The next few months will be hectic while the selecting of a new pope is going on but when he he takes the reins he will be getting into just a little bit more than most Popes are usually getting into. 

- Joey Frongillo

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