Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Real Followers and Virtual Followers

Today, (December 3, 2012), a story was prominent in news agencies. According to todayszaman newspaper, http://todayszaman.com/news-300034-vatican-discloses-popes-twitter-handle-@pontifex.html, Pope Benedict's handle on Twitter will be @pontifex. He already has 1.2 billion "followers" in the standard sense of the word but next week he will have another type when he enters what for any 85-year old is the brave new world of Twitter. The Vatican said on Monday that the pope will start tweeting on December 12, the feast of the Madonna of Guadalupe. 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. Other languages will be added in the future.

Primarily the tweets will come from the contents of his weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and homilies on major Church holidays. They will also include reaction to major world events, such as natural disasters. Benedict will be sending his first tweet himself on Dec. 12 but in the future most will be written by aides and he will sign off on them before they are sent in his name. But while the pope will be one of the world's most high-profile tweeters and have many followers, he will not be following anyone himself.

This news also shows that how social media becomes important in today’s world. By this way, Pope will not only keep in touch with and increase his “real” followers but also his “virtual” followers. Vatican officials say that The Pope, who still writes his speeches and books by hand, has given a qualified blessing to social networking and The Pope's presence on Twitter is a concrete expression of his conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena.

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