Pope Benedict XVI Photo by: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

How will the Twittersphere take to Pope Bendict’s presence?


Pope Benedict XVI Photo by: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

Pope benedict took the unprecedented step of creating his own Twitter account this week, using the Twitter handle @pontifex.

The question now is will he pick up more followers than Twitter heavyweights like Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga? And as for fellow religious leader the Dalai Lama, his five million followers mean the pope has some major catching up to do.

If one in every hundred of the estimated 1.25 billion Catholics in the world follow the Pope, it's projected he'll eventually come in at number 22 with 12.5 million followers. Which would put him just behind bad boy rapper Eminem.

According to the Irish Independent, Ladbroke's, the British bookmakers, have offered odds on the Pope getting over a million Twitter faithfuls by the end of the year. Given that he already has over 450,000 followers within the first twenty four hours of his announcement, it might be worth placing a bet right away.

Ian Maude, of Enders Analysis, told the Independent: 'The Pope’s going to be enormous, but I’m not sure he’s quite going to get to Lady Gaga levels.'

'The demographics of the most faithful might be older and therefore less likely to be on Twitter, so there’s quite a lot stacked against the Pope.'

Maude doubts that the pontiff will start tweeting his every move or thought or taking candid photographs the way top celebrities on Twitter often do.

'I’m guessing Pope Benedict’s tweets won’t be as casual as Lady Gaga, tweeting where she’s just landed,' he said. So don't expect to hear his reaction to this weeks episode of Homeland or Rupauls Drag Race.

The pontiff will tweet in eight languages, starting on 12 December, initially responding live to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, the Vatican has said.

The 85-year-old’s Twitter handle, pontifex, means both Pope in Latin and bridge builder.  

'He’s got a bigger overall fan base than Lady Gaga – but it’s whether that will translate to Twitter...' Maude said.

Dampening speculation about what to expect from the pope, Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Vatican’s social communications office, said the papal tweets aren’t to be considered infallible teachings. They’re just 'pearls of wisdom' in the Pope’s own words, he said.

It remains to be seen if these pearls can compete with Lady Gaga's.


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