On Thursday, March 14, David Goldman of CNNMoney reported that on March 13 the new pope generated almost as much activity on Twitter as the 2013 Super Bowl.
According to Goldman, " The Internet exploded with traffic on Wednesday afternoon as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as pontiff. Social media sites such as Facebook lit up, and Twitter said it peaked at 130,000 tweets per minute.
"That's nearly as much traffic as the 150,000 tweet-per-minute peak of this year's Super Bowl and double the 70,000 tweets per minute users fired off during the Oscars telecast last month. In all, Twitter said there were 7 million total tweets sent Wednesday about the papacy."
Alex Fitzpatrick of Mashable reported on Wednesday, March 13 that the Vatican reactivated the pope's official Twitter account @Pontifex. This generated some of the traffic Goldman described.
According to Fitzpatrick, "The official papal Twitter account on Wednesday sent its first message since Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month. That tweet has since gotten 45,000 retweets and 11,000 favorites in roughly a half-hour."
By 6:48 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Thursday, March 14, the pope's first tweet had been retweeted 82,152 times and favorited 24,736 times.
Samantha Rupert of Social Media Today reported on Thursday, March 14 that some social media experts are speculating that the new pope's conservative nature might keep him from participating much on sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Other experts have suggested that his beliefs in social justice may result in more social activity.
According to Rupert, "To answer this question, we have to look at Pope Francis himself. He’s a quiet, humble man who doesn’t even own a car. CBS reported that he previously used public transportation at his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"While he’s traditional, he’s a bit of a social justice reformer. This could signify his willingness to be more involved with the social matters of the world – potentially including involvement and reach-out in social media."
Those experts Rupert mentioned may not have visited the pope's official Facebook page yet. It debuted on Wednesday, March 13. By Thursday, March 14 at 7:09 PDT, the pope's personal page had 33,249 likes. It features several updates already, including photos, shared links and prayers in at least two languages.
The pope will probably continue to stay active on Facebook. His old page he created while he was still a cardinal had over 43,000 subscribers before his election was announced on March 13 and the total soared to 137,610 likes.
Pope Francis may not branch out to other social networks such as Google+ or LinkedIn, but his history of engagement on Facebook suggests that he will continue to embrace social media as a way of communicating with Catholics around the world.