Pope Francis’ Twitter account – @pontifex – has reached a milestone: 40 million followers
It is a Surprise, knowing that most people do not even expect that the Pope could have a twitter account let alone believing that he has racked up to 40Million followers.
The Vatican radio on Wednesday announced that Pope Francis’ Twitter account - @pontifex – has reached a milestone: 40 million followers in 9 languages, thereby putting the catholic leader in the league of the world’s biggest social media players, with the likes of US President Donald Trump (40.3 million followers), Barack Obama (95 million) and Katy Perry (104 million).
Msgr. Viganò said, “The Pope takes great care of his social profiles, to such an extent that he closely and carefully checks all the tweets, which are then published.” This statement was made in response to the question the Holy Father’s social media presence more specifically, especially on twitter and Instagram (where Pope Francis shares photos and videos under his @franciscus handle). He went on to say “40 million followers means 40 million people, 40 million hearts, minds, and passions,” “It is a world, a relationship, a community: So, the Pope who calls himself a ‘grandfather,’ who claims to be far from new technologies, nevertheless intuits that there is a world – the social media world – that is made up of people.”
Francis, who also counts five million followers on Instagram, is not the first pope to tweet. His predecessor Benedict XVI started in December 2012, just months before he retired because of failing health. Tweets in the name of the pope appear on average just under once a day.
“God does not disappoint! He has placed hope in our hearts so that it can blossom and bear fruit,” he wrote in his latest missive.
Msgr. Viganò was further asked if the Pope Francis can be taken as an example of how to use social media, so that the Internet is, “a network not of wires but of people,” as he himself wrote in his first Message for the World Day of Social Communications? And he emphatically said Yes!, he said “This also collects the inheritance of Pope emeritus Benedict [XVI], who has made some very interesting speeches on the Net. I believe that the further step, the one we might summarize as ‘from the click to the heart’, is to imagine a community of believers, who leave traces of the allure of the Gospel of Mercy even on the Net.”
It was also pointed to note that the Vatican’s Twitter operation is not without risks given the hard-to-control nature of discussions on the site: some papal tweets are greeted with sarcastic, mocking or even obscene replies that make shocking reading for some of the devout. But in all, the Church has deemed the internet has to be embraced and research suggests that has been the right call,
Regardless of the stereotyped nature of his tweets, the 80 year old pope Francis, has become a star of the platform.