Eighty-five-year-old Pope Benedict XVI has a Twitter handle. He’s well-aware of the influence Facebook and other social media have on society, and he’s said he’s serious about bringing a truly catholic message to the World Wide Web.
Cyber evangelizing — why not? What has he got to lose? He has to reach them somehow, and any short exposure to the public and their smart phones makes it clear that this may be the only way.
With nearly 2 million Twitter followers, (11,000 of whom follow his Latin tweets exclusively), His Holiness is off to a wonderful start, in spite of a terrifying potential deterrent (from the AP):
[T]he digital exposure hasn’t come without risk or criticism: In the days after the Vatican announced that Benedict would respond to questions about faith on his first tweets from his (at)Pontifex handle last month, the Vatican was bombarded with threats of “Twitter bombs” from critics trying to scare the pope away from the online social forum.
Twitter bombs? Heaven forbid! Luckily for the Pope, the Catholic Church is no stranger to would-be assailants. The Church and her servants have survived some 2,000-odd years of persecution, some of which included real, live lions.
The Pope himself reportedly performed an exorcism or two in his day. I think he’ll be able to handle Twitter trolls just fine.