Pope Francis Twitter Followers Hit 2 Million – That's Just in English

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 02:29 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Image: Pope Francis Twitter Followers Hit 2 Million – That's Just in English
Smartphone showing Pope Francis' first tweet on March 17, 2013 in Rome.
Just a week after white smoke poured out over the Vatican, Pope Francis has broken 2 million Twitter followers, and that's just on his English-language account.

As the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Argentinean-born Jorge Mario Bergoglio has assumed control of the holy @Pontifex Twitter account from Benedict XVI. He hasn't tweeted much, but that hasn’t discouraged people from all over the world from flocking to his nine multilingual Twitter pages, which now boast a total of 3.98 million followers.

"It's a global church, and the Twitter followers are starting to reflect that. Clearly we expect to see a bit of a jump with Pope Francis, and not only in Spanish," Vatican communications strategist Greg Burke told USA Today. "I can't wait until @Pontifex in Spanish passes up the English. Latin America is where we have to get the message out, and Pope Francis can do that."

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A social media newbie, Pope Francis has the help of two American undergraduate social media interns from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

"We're hoping it becomes even more frequent than what Benedict had before," intern Sean Hudgins told Mashable. "Benedict's [tweets] were kind of sparse, and I think a lot of people want to see with this Twitter how to be more connected to the people, and I think Pope Francis, that's something that his brand is — to be more of a people person. So we're hopeful these tweets will be that."

Techies say the Twitter platform presents a huge opportunity for Pope Francis to bond with the people. After all, his election was the second biggest Twitter event of all time behind President Barack Obama's reelection, according to Mashable.

"The @Pontifex account is likely to be a central piece of the Vatican’s new media strategy for years to come," wrote Forbes tech writer Alex Kantrowitz after the election. "As a new pope takes over, it will be interesting to watch how the strategy evolves."

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Related stories:

Pope Francis to Visit Benedict Next Saturday

Traditional Catholicism to be Upheld by Pope Francis

Pope Francis Slips Out of Vatican for Humble Morning Prayer Visit

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