Vatican unveils Pope’s Twitter account @pontifex
4 December 2012
The Pope is to begin sending Twitter messages using the handle @pontifex as his personal account, the Vatican says.
A spokesman said Pope Benedict XVI would “reach out to everyone” with accounts in eight languages, although no tweets were posted on the first day.
In that time, the Pope’s English account had accumulated nearly 280,000 followers, well ahead of his Spanish (67,000) and Italian (26,500) accounts.
The first tweet from the accounts is expected on 12 December.
At his weekly audience the Pope will be use a question-and-answer format for his first Twitter session, focusing on answering questions about faith in 140 characters.
The Pope’s tweets will also be posted in German (with the account generating 7,000 followers in its first day), Portuguese (10,700), Polish (2,650), French (5,000) and Arabic (2,150).
So far, the Pope’s accounts @pontifex - which mean “pontiff” or “builder of bridges” - are only following each other.
The Vatican’s Twitter account has almost 110,000 followers, although it follows no-one.
Last year, the Pope sent his first tweet last year from a Vatican account to launch the Holy See’s news information portal.
“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,” said Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican.
“He will tweet what he wants to tweet,” he added, though the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion or so Roman Catholics is expected to sign off, rather than write, each individual tweet himself.