You know when you join twitter, right? Did you join, get frustrated you didn’t understand how to work it and mask this by pretending you were far too cool for it anyway? And then a few months later have someone show you what to do, set up a new account and basically have a love affair with the micro social media site behind your Facebook’s back? I know I did. So it must have been rather embarrassing for old Pope Benedict XVI who didn’t actually have the luxury of hiding in the lurker shadows of twitter when he attracted over one million followers before he’d even tweeted ‘is this thing on?’. Okay, he didn’t ACTUALLY tweet that, more like it took him roughly a week to say anything on one of the dozen or so multilingual twitter feeds he’s got on the go (talk about OBSESSSSSSED).
What he did actually tweet was (drum roll please!):
And isn’t that nice! Now, I am all for the Pontiff getting his tweet on, perhaps avoiding any DMs from Mel Gibson in the process, but someone need to tell the anointed man how to rack up some heavenly hashtags. We all know if the Church doesn’t roll with the times it’s going to inch closer to becoming irrelevant, and therefore you can’t blame a Pope for trying to reach out, especially to the younger generations. But maybe a crash course in twitter will help the Pope reach the upper Echelons of social media, as well as the Deity:
Rule One: Engage with your audience.
I want to see some Q&A sessions, and have thus already prepared to brave it and ask the Vatican one of the most elusive questions of our time; Does the Pope actually wear Prada shoes? I am hoping this is followed by a ‘heck no, that was the last guy, I’m all about the Dolce & Gabbanas!’ #MFWforthewin.
Rule Two: Follow people you are interested in.
This doesn’t just include yourself in different languages I’m afraid. This WILL make you look slightly egotistical and like you aren’t interested in anyone elses opinions. Perhaps a little follow of @DalaiLama might be an appropriate springboard?
Rule three: Be aware of your audience.
If this is an attempt by the Vatican to engage more with the youth of today, if they really want to succeed they must learn who their audience truly is. Perhaps a few #YOLO (only if you don’t believe in reincarnation) tweets might break through the retweeting record currently held by Barack Obama.
Overall, I think this is a really amazing thing the Catholic Church have embraced, in order to not only reach a wider audience, but also all those who wish to have a twitter shaped slice of the Pope’s direct musings. Well done Pope Benedict, I think you are truly on your way to Twitter domination, and who knows? You might surpass Gaga in a matter of weeks.