Pope Francis is the “most influential” Twitter user, beating out the Barack Obama account according to the 2014 Twiplomacy Study released on Wednesday. Since the Pontiff’s first tweet on March 17, 2013 asking Catholics to pray for him, Pope Francis’ @pontifex accounts in nine languages have grown substantially, making the Twiplomacy findings not unusual.
On December 12, 2012 the Catholic Church turned to social media to spread the word of God. Simple and concise, with only 140 characters to choose from, Pope Benedict took to Twitter at 5:28 a.m. EST to expand the followers of Jesus Christ. After Pope Benedict’s first tweet, “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,” the @pontifex (English) account had already gained over 677,000 followers.
Shortly after Benedict's resignation Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th successor of Saint Peter. The humble Pope Francis’ first tweet, “Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis,” was received by almost two million followers. As of this report @pontifex has earned more than four million and counting, which explains the influence Pope Francis has over Catholics and his followers.
After only thirty minutes of going live, the Holy Father’s first tweet was retweeted over 13,000 times, and with a live Twitter feed on the Vatican's website, the Pontiff’s more than 350 tweets are visible to visitors who might not utilize social media. According to the Twiplomacy survey, “Pope Francis is the most influential tweep with more than 6,400 retweets from his English account and over 10,000 from the Spanish Twitter.” The head of the Catholic Church’s average retweet beat out President Obama’s, which averaged 1,442 times.
Pope Francis has nine official Twitter accounts in various languages, 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. If Pope Francis responded to the news that his account is the “most influential” on Twitter, the Holy Father would undoubtedly not take responsibility for the popularity and would respond that it was God who is the “most influential.”