Pope gets more than half million Twitter followers

Tue Dec 4, 2012 12:13pm EST
 

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Even though he hasn't sent a single tweet yet, Pope Benedict had more than half a million Twitter followers in eight languages on Tuesday, the day after the Vatican unveiled his handle: @Pontifex.

They included people ranging from the simple Roman Catholic faithful to a Jewish head of state.

"Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best & can form a basis to further peace everywhere," tweeted Israeli President Shimon Peres, who at 89 is four years older than Benedict.

The Vatican said on Monday that Benedict will start tweeting on mostly spiritual topics from December 12.

The pope actually has eight linked Twitter accounts. @Pontifex, the main account, is in English. The other seven have a suffix at the end for the different language versions. For example, the German version is @Pontifex_de, and the Arabic version is @Pontifex_ar.

On Tuesday afternoon, the English version had the most followers, with nearly 400,000. The next largest was Spanish, with some 93,000. The lowest number of followers was the Arabic, with about 3,500. Benedict's native German had about 10,000.

But the pope, leader of some 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, won't be following anyone but himself, the Vatican said.

A look at his official Twitter page on Tuesday showed that he is "following" seven people but they are merely versions of his own Twitter account in different languages.   Continued...

 
Pope Benedict XVI uses an iPad device at the Vatican in this file photo dated June 28, 2011. Pope Benedict's handle on Twitter will be @pontifex. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano