If all the 1.25 billion Catholics in the world chose to become followers of Pope Benedict XVI‘s new Twitter account, @Pontifex, he would easily overtake Lady Gaga as the most followed personality on Twitter.
Reuters reported that the Vatican announced the @Pontifex handle Monday morning, and, despite not having tweeted a single word, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church had already more than 30,000 followers as of 7:45 am.
“The handle is a good one. It means ‘pope’ and it also means ‘bridge builder’,” said Greg Burke, senior media adviser to the Vatican. “The pope wants to reach out to everyone.”
While the 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI will not be the one typing the message on a Blackberry or iPad, the pope’s words on Twitter will be his own as opposed to something created by a PR team.
“He will tweet what he wants to tweet,” Burke said.
The pope’s messages on Twitter will likely be condensed messages from his weekly general audiences, other homilies, and messages on Church holidays. He will also respond to major world events.
The Atlantic Wire reported that the pope will tweet in eight languages. His first tweets will come December 12, the feast of the Madonna of Guadalupe, in the form of a Q&A. He will answer questions directed toward him with the hashtag ‘#askpontifex.’
The Pope, who was known by his given name of Joseph Ratzinger prior to his election to the papacy, has seen his Twitter following grow rapidly. At 7:45 am Monday @Pontifex had 32,270, and, just 15 minutes later, the total was up to 38,235.