The Pope may have joined Twitter over a week ago, but he's only just tweeted. How did he do?

After weeks of suspense, on 12/12/12 @Pontifex has finally sent some tweets. But has he got the hang of the microblogging site?

Share

Pope Benedict XVI, AKA @Pontifex, sent out his first series of tweets at around 11am today, taking a tentative leap into the confusing world of social media, and making a few Twitter blunders (Twunders?) along the way. Admittedly, he had a hundred-strong audience watching him write his inaugural missive into the Twittersphere, which must have put the pressure on, but that's no excuse for poor Twitter etiquette (Twettiquette?) is it? So, if His Holiness will excuse me, here's my critique of his first Twords, and a few tips on how to improve them.

1) Timing

Ever since joining Twitter to much fanfare over a week ago, the timing of the Pope's first tweet has been hotly anticipated. The Vatican announced he would not begin tweeting until today, and as it's 12/12/12, an auspicious day in the Mayan and Hopi Mesoamerican Long Count calendars, many thought the Pope would choose 12.12pm to send his first message to the world via the micro-blogging site. That is if Armageddon didn't come first. He tweeted his first message at 12.12pm in Italy, thereby neglecting to consider his Catholic audience across the globe. A cleverer, though somewhat trickier way to tweet would be to use his eight different Twitter accounts, which cater to various languages, to tweet at 12.12 in their timezone. A series of scheduled tweets using TweetDeck could have helped with this. Clearly, his Holiness forgot the first rule of Twitter: Timing is everything.

2) Be generous

His Holiness began well, with a tweet thanking his followers: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart", he wrote. This gets top points for familiarity - calling the followers "friends" is lovely. But! a closer look at the Pope's account shows a lack of the generosity of spirit one needs to survive in the Twittersphere. @Pontifex has not "favourited" any tweets, has made no lists, has replied to not even one of his followers, and, despite having over 723,000 followers he only follows seven people, all of which are alternative versions of himself. Nil points.

3) Social media

The pope's second tweet asks the question, "How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?" Nice work Your Holiness, questions are a great way to trigger debates on the social network. Perhaps he could have added a hashtag for extra finesse, something catchy and alliterative, like #lifelessons, or #findingfaith, but it sets out a theme, it's a nice, open question, and it tells you a bit about the Pope's interests, in case you hadn't figured it out from the whole mozetta, cross and preaching about Jesus shtick. But then, just three minutes later, in the ultimate Twitter faux pas, he answers his own question. "By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need." No, no, NO. That is not the way to make friends online and it's certainly not the way social media works. You should ask a question, then let people debate it with you. So what if you're the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, and have a direct line to God himself. It doesn't mean you have all the answers.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all