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Twitter welcomes Pope Benedict XVI

It was reported in November that the Catholic religious leader Pope Benedict XVI would be joining the masses on Twitter, with the Vatican confirming reports on December 3 and announcing that the Pope will launch his Twitter account at around midday (Rome time) on December 12.

Pope Benedict XVI (@pontifex) will send his first tweet on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where people all over the world will be able to Tweet questions relating to faith using the hashtag #AskPontifex.

A live tweeting event will be held, where the Pope will respond to questions curated by the Vatican staff to address on his new Twitter account.

Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Mgr Paul Tighe said (via Vatican Radio): "I think symbolically this is very important, this is the head of the Church going into a new digital arena to share his words and ideas… it’s an encouragement to those already present using Twitter and other forms of social media to reach an even wider group of people…"

Twitter's manager of social innovation Claire Diaz Ortiz posted on the Twitter blog yesterday, writing that religious and spiritual leaders across the globe spread their messages and "maintain an exceptionally strong presence on Twitter".

A high level engagement is observed with spiritual and religious content with Ortiz adding that followers respond to topics with retweets, replies and click on links more often than they do for other subjects.

The Pope's primary Twitter account will be in English, but he will also oversee a number of other accounts in major languages, giving translations of his Tweets.

There will be Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French Twitter accounts holding the Pope's messages.

"The Pope’s presence on Twitter means that no matter where you live or where you are, you can connect with, and get inspiration directly from, one of the world’s most influential religious leaders," wrote Diaz on the Twitter Blog.

Posted by April Revake.