Any remaining questions about the legitimacy of Twitter were answered Wednesday when Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first tweet.
The first papal missive
and his six other accounts in different languages was quickly followed by a half dozen more tweets over the next several hours. That initial tweet, sent out notably on 12-12-12, was retweeted 50,000 times and marked as a favorite 20,000 times. He had amassed over a million followers before sending the tweet.
The Vatican confirmed that the pope will not actually be sending the tweets out himself, but they will indeed be his words. The Wall Street Journal reported a group called the “Pontifical Council for Social Communications” will be overseeing the Twitter outreach.
The Pope did hit the “send” button for first tweet in an event that was caught on video
. It said: “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 slow movements of the pope during the video prompted this
from comedian Alex Blagg
: “The idiom ‘like watching paint dry’ should be updated to ‘like watching the Pope tweet.’”
For Twitter, it capped off a momentous week during which it announced an impressive list of new Twitter members in 2012, including Chelsea Clinton
, former NFL quarterback Brett Favre
, and British Prime Minister David Cameron
Media around the world marked the inaugural pope tweet event in a variety of ways. The Guardian asked its readers
for Twitter tips and thoughts to pass along to the pope. They included:
• “Don't tweet after too much communion wine.”
• “If he gets a DM [direct message] with a link saying ‘CaN't BeLiEvE i FoUnD tHiS vIdEo Of YoU!!!!’ don't click it.”
• “Don’t use Twitter for crusades.”
• “To be fair, if The Crusaders had stuck to using Twitter it would have saved an awful lot of bother.”
• “When the Bible said follow Jesus, I don't believe it meant Twitter.”
The rest of the Twittersphere also responded Wednesday to the news.
Comedian Laurie Kilmartin
said: “The Vatican admitted that 86 year old Pope Benedict does not personally send his tweets. They also admitted he doesn't know that he's Pope.”
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted
: “Pope Benedict @Pontifex began tweeting today. Is it too soon to ask for a papal Friday Follow mention?”
of Ohio tweeted
: “I won't believe in God until one of the Pope's tweets has a typo in it.”
Anticipating the Pope’s next social media move, chef and Australian TV personality Adam Liaw offered
: “Very disappointed that the Pope's first tweet wasn't an Instagram picture of a communion wafer.”