Pope's first tweet blesses his one million 'followers'
As first tweets go, it was neither Earth- nor heaven-shattering. To much fanfare, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday sent his first tweet during his Wednesday public audience in the Vatican. Surrounded by a gaggle of helpers, Benedict pressed on his iPad to send off the tweet.
It read simply: “Dear Friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless you all from my heart.”
The pope’s reference to a generous response reflected the fact that by midday, he had gathered more than a million “followers”, just 10 days after the Holy See announced he would be tweeting from hashtag “@pontifex”.
Later in the morning, the pope sent out two other tweets, messages which indicate the manner in which Benedict will use this social network.
In his second tweet, he asks: “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?” He replies in his third tweet: “By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need.”
Later, he tweeted twice more. Replying to his question of how faith in Jesus can be lived “in a world without hope”, he replied: “We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful.”
If this all seems low-key, just look at the Dalai Lama’s first tweet: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Los Angeles, 21 February 2010.” Not exactly Earth-shattering.
To those who find it strange to see an 85-year-old who does all his writing by hand use Twitter, the Holy See’s Greg Burke responds: “This is a new market for ideas and the church should be there.” It seems @pontifex is here to stay.