The Pope Officially Joins Twitter

The Pope Officially Joins TwitterThere are close to 1.2 billion Catholics in the world – a number almost unfathomable to myself and many others. That’s close to 20% of the world’s population! The Catholic community includes its Pope, a spiritual leader that has the final say in religious matters. It turns out the Pope will now be able to communicate with his followers not only in the traditional manner, but also through the wonderful platform of Twitter.

The Pope’s New Twitter Account

It’s not every day that one sees a headline combining one of the oldest spiritual traditions with one of the latest technological social wonders. But today is that day. According to Stan Schroeder at Mashable, “Pope Benedict XVI has launched an official Twitter account with the handle @pontifex.”

The account won’t be active for about two more weeks, but it will be operating in 8 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, French and Arabic. Previously, the Pope utilized the Vatican’s Twitter account to send rare tweets to its followers.

1.2 Billion Followers to Come?

Over the past few years, agencies and small businesses have been using Twitter to reach followers and potential customers with much success. It works great for organizations, disaster relief, and businesses alike. The platform allows people to cheaply and instantly communicate with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. As the BBC reports, “Pope Benedict XVI wanted to “reach out to everyone.” If he wants to do that, there isn’t a better platform than Twitter.

Interestingly enough, the Pope’s initial foray into the social media world of Twitter will be a classic “question-and-answer format,” the BBC states. More importantly, the BBC informs that the Vatican and the Pope moved to Twitter because “Pope Benedict’s six-year papacy has been bedeviled by poor communications.” Twitter is a chance for the Church to be more active and timely when it comes to world events and holidays. Better late to join the party than never at all, right?

The Vatican‘s View of Twitter (and Why it Relates to Your Agency)

Twitter sure is one way to communicate effectively, clearly, and openly. Celebrities, businesses, and corporations have been using Twitter for years now. Some get more benefit from the service than others. It’s important to realize that using Twitter itself won’t magically yield more conversions, followers, or devoted fans and customers.

Without a backbone and a strong strategy put in place, you’ll simply be tweeting into the wind, or preaching to the choir in some regards. Philip Pullella with Reuters writes, “The pope’s presence on Twitter can be seen as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that is the Church’s presence in the world of new media.” This is an important metaphor to consider when crafting strategy for your clients.

As a successful agency, there’s no doubt you work with clients from various industries. Twitter is also a likely tool to better your client’s position on the web and improve their interaction with customers. But, as the Catholic Church and the Pope realize, it still should only be the tip of the iceberg. Having a strong plan based on quality content behind your social media activity can turn tweets into conversions and interested visitors into customers.

What do you think of the Pope joining Twitter?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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