Pope Benedict XVI Joins Twitter

(PCM) He may not have sent out a single tweet yet, but Pope Benedict XVI has officially joined Twitter. With a verified account and @pontifex Twitter handle he is ready to reach out to the Twitter world. At the age of 85 he might be one of the oldest Twitter members, but the Catholic Church is hoping the move to Twitter will help them reach a younger crowd. Archbishop Claudio Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications found that 140 million people currently use Twitter and 40 percent of them are age 16-24. “We want to use Twitter to reach out to these young people,” he said. “This is a new market for ideas and the church should be there . . . This is not the only way [to spread the Catholic Church’s message] but it is a very useful one.” The Pope already has over 400,000 Twitter followers since he joined the social networking site on Monday. Religious leaders on Twitter typically have high rates of retweets, replies and responses. “An average religious leader has a rate of about 1 RT for every 500 followers, while a musician on Twitter would get one RT for every 30,000 followers,” said Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz. Don’t expect the Pope to be one of those people who Tweet their every action and thought because he will probably only tweet about once a week. Even though the Pope won’t be the one typing out the 140 characters or less, he will oversee and approve all tweets. Pope Benedict plans to begin tweeting on December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when he will answer some questions about faith sent to #askpontifex or #B16. The Pope’s tweets will be in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic.