Three weeks ago we brought you news fit to shake the Heavens and the Earth: Pope Benedict XVI (who looks absolutely nothing like Emperor Palpatine, BTW) would soon spread 140-character versions of The Word to the easily distracted masses via Twitter.
Today saw the official establishment of the Pope’s account at @Pontifex. Journalists at the Vatican press conference took the opportunity to go snarky, asking questions like “Why Twitter instead of Facebook?” and this gem:
Great question from a journalist for the Vatican: “Should the Pope’s tweets be considered infallible?” (press conf breaks out in laughter)
— Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@Claire) December 3, 2012
But the most amusing part of the story isn’t the fact that the account will also tweet in Arabic (though that is funny, as is the fact that the very, very German pope, who lives in Italy, uses English as his default language). More significant is the fact that the profile, just unveiled this morning, already has 165,000 followers despite being completely blank.
It’s almost like the Vatican–which used today’s press conference to announce that the Big Guy’s first official messages will come as part of a December 12th Q&A on faith–wanted to taunt Bieber and Gaga by breaking records for “fastest accumulation of followers.”
We would label this a lesson in the effective use of the “hype your debut and then leave everybody hanging” school of media strategy, but then no other person or earthly vessel really has Benedict’s otherworldly leverage when it comes to messaging the people on the ground. Given the fact that the Catholic Church has more than a billion adherents around the world, we have a feeling the Pope will soon be more overexposed than that crazy kid from Two and a Half Men.
Some words of advice for Twitter’s newest superstar: avoid the overshare! Don’t do any of that “re-tweet if you agree…” nonsense. And stop Instagram‘ing your brunch! And a short note to everyone else: we know the prospect of using Twitter as a confessional sounds really appealing. But please don’t.
In the interest of greater exposure, we’ve decided to start “mentioning” the world’s greatest pontiff in each of our outgoing messages. How much effort does it really take to re-tweet us, Benedict? Just click the button!