Pope needs help sending out blessing in first tweet

Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:55am EST
 

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - After weeks of anticipation bordering on media frenzy, Pope Benedict solemnly put his finger to a computer tablet device on Wednesday and tried to send his first tweet - but something went wrong.

Images on Vatican television appeared to show the first try didn't work. The pope, who still writes his speeches by hand, seems to have pressed too hard and the tweet was not sent right away. So, he needed a little help from his friends.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli of the Vatican's communications department showed the pontiff how to do it, but the pope hesitated. Celli touched the screen lightly himself and off went the papal tweet.

"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," he said in his introduction to the brave new world of Twitter.

The tweet was sent at the end of weekly general audience in the Vatican before thousands of people.

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.

The tweets will be going out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. Other languages will be added in the future.

The pope already had just over a million followers in all of the languages combined minutes before he sent his first tweet and the number was growing.   Continued...

 
A combination picture shows Pope Benedict XVI posting his first tweet using an iPad tablet after his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI's Hall at the Vatican December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito