Pope Benedict XVI has officially joined the Twitterverse, and is looking to add followers on Twitter to the already 1.2 billion real life followers he has.
Pope Benedict XVI will tweet under the handle @Pontifex, but not before December 12th.
Still, over 70,000 people chose to follow the 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI since his Twitter went live this morning.
The Pope’s first tweet will coincide with the feast of the Madonna of Guadalupe.
Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican, said @Pontifex is an appropriate Twitter handle for a number of reasons.
“The handle is a good one. It means ‘pope’ and it also means ‘bridge builder’,” he said.
“The Pope wants to reach out to everyone,” he told a news conference.
The first papal tweets will be answers to questions sent to @askPontifex.
The tweets will be going out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French, with other languages following in the future.
“We are going to get a spiritual message. The Pope is not going to be walking around with a Blackberry or an iPad and no one is going to be putting words into the Pope’s mouth. He will tweet what he wants to tweet,” Burke said.
The tweets will mainly consist of Sunday blessings, prayers and thoughts on major holidays, and reactions to major events such as natural disasters.
The first tweet will by typed out by Pope Benedict XVI, but most subsequent tweets will be posted by aides, who will get the Pope’s consent before sending out the 140-character messages in his name.
“The Pope’s presence on Twitter is a concrete expression of his conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena,” the Vatican said.
“This initiative is best understood in the context of his reflections on the importance of the cultural space that has been brought into being by the new technologies … the Pope’s presence on Twitter can be seen as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that is the Church’s presence in the world of new media,” it said in a statement.
James Gilbert | Elite.