Pope Benedict tweets for the first time
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.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
It's been retweeted more than 33,000 times in the past three hours. Not bad, but still behind the Kouichi Yamadera–Rie Tanaka wedding announcement.
An employee of Twitter was scheduled to be with his holiness as he hit the "Tweet" button on his iPad, Cecilia Kang reports. "Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Twitter’s pontiff recruitment chief," Kang writes, "has been in Rome for the past week to make sure the holiest of new members, @pontifex, becomes a social-media success."
The microblogging service has worked to convince famous people to use its service, Kang writes; their participation "can spell big returns for Twitter, a private company that one day hopes to turn all of its users’ information into financial returns through advertising and selling analytical information, experts say."
New York Times reporter Rachel Donadio asks a question I've been wondering about since the pope's Twitter account was announced:
A Vatican official has said that papal tweets, as with everything written by the pope, will be part of the church’s teachings, but would not be considered infallible.
The pope's social media debut has also spawned the world's worst hashtag: #twope. Light a candle today and pray it doesn't take off.
Related: Chinese citizens irked Xinhua News Agency has Twitter account while the service is officially banned in China (The Atlantic Wire)