Hit or Miss? Pope Benedict XVI joins the online social networking revolution

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI has joined Twitter as @Pontifex and will commence tweeting from 12 December.

Twitter users can ask him questions using #AskPontifex. He will be tweeting in eight different languages, sharing 'pearls of wisdom' and personally approving every tweet sent. His account has already gained more than 350,000 followers but he will not be following anyone in return.

HOW I SEE IT

Mark Flanagan, Partner, Portland

News that Pope XVI is joining the half a billion people already on Twitter should be rejoiced. Delay has allowed some Spanish guy to bag @thepope, leaving the main man to go with @Pontifex.

Aides say His Holiness aims to spread 'pearls of wisdom'. In this, he will follow the daddy of religious tweeters @DalaiLama. The Tibetan leader has, in a thoughtful and spiritual way, built an audience of five-and-half-million people without following a single other person.

It's right for Pope Benedict to embrace Twitter. It gives him a 'voice', demonstrates a willingness to open up and the ability to maintain conversations. He will build loyalty, explain his positions more clearly and shorten the gap between the Papacy and the audience. There will be issues and some pain, but there are ways to mitigate this.

HIT

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