It has been slightly over one year since Pope Benedict sent out his first tweet, and as of December 12, 2012, the nine Pontifex Twitter profiles, in various languages, have earned close to 11 million followers.
Pope Benedict’s first tweet made headlines in what was a strategic religious move by the Catholic Church to not only gain Twitter followers, but to also spread the Word of Jesus through social media. Simple and concise, with only 140 characters to choose from, Pope Benedict took to Twitter at 5:28 a.m. EST on December 12, and at the time the message hit the feed, the Pontifex English account alone had already ascertained over 677,000 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.
After only 30 minutes of going live, Pope Benedict’s first tweet had been re-tweeted over 13,000 times.
Pope Benedict’s successor, the beloved Pope Francis and Time’s Person of the Year, utilized Twitter to send out a humble message, which thanked all and asked Catholics to pray for him, on March 17, at 7:17 a.m., only four days after his election as the head of the Church.
Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis.
The official nine Pope Francis Twitter accounts have been live and active this past year, which include, English: @Pontifex, Spanish: @Pontifex_es, Italian: @Pontifex_it, Latin: @Pontifex_ln, Portuguese: @Pontifex_pt, German: @Pontifex_de, Polish: @Pontifex_pl, Arabic: @Pontifex_ar and French: @Pontifex_fr. According to Vatican News, the combined Twitter handles have gained 10 million 700 thousand followers when the Pontifex account celebrated its one year anniversary on December 12, 2013.
Vatican News has organized the highlights of Pope Francis’ tweets for 2013, from his very first on March 17, to the Pontiff’s call for “good Samaritans” on December 9. However, Pope Francis’ spiritual social media messages increased during Advent and of course on Christmas as Catholics and Christians worldwide prepared for the birth of Jesus.
This Christmas may we be consistent in living the Gospel, welcoming Jesus into the centre of our lives. ~ December 20, 2013
Before the Nativity scene, may we pray in a particular way for those suffering persecution for the faith. ~ December 26, 2013
It has been estimated that Pope Francis’s spiritual messages via Twitter and the re-tweets they generate reach upwards of about 60 million people across the globe.
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