Pope Takes First Cautious Step On Twitter — Sends ‘Hello World’ Tweet (From An iPad)

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The Pope has sent his first ever tweet, after joining the social network earlier this month. The tweet references the connectedness offered by social media — noting that he is “pleased to get in touch” and thanking his (Twitter) followers for their “generous response” — presumably to his arrival (as @Pontifex) on the social network.

Here’s his first tweet in full

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The Pope’s first tweet is a watershed moment for social media — as the old top-down ways of communicating, that are still all too often favoured by establishment institutions such as the Catholic Church, are shown again and again to be unworkable in a hyper connected age. Ignoring the place where people are choosing to communicate — and also to criticise — is no longer a viable option. Shunning social media means appearing not just out of touch — but irrelevant to a modern, digitally connected audience.

The Pope is not the only high profile individual who recently sent a first tweet. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron signed up for a personal Twitter account in 2010 but only started tweeting from it in October — promising he would refrain from sending “too many tweets”.

Update: Now he’s started tweeting, the Pope is apparently in no hurry to stop — he’s just sent a couple more tweets. His second tweet is a question about how to “celebrate the Year of Faith better”, while the third tweet apparently answers the second

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It is probably too much to hope the Pope engages with his Twitter follows in a proper back-and-forth conversation, rather than using the service as another pulpit to broadcast from. Judging by this pair of tweets (and the fact he only follows his seven other @Pontifex language feeds), the Pope is more keen on conversing with himself — than with his 672,445 followers — which is really missing the point of social media.

If you want to see the Pope in inaugural Twitter action, this Catholic blog has a video of the moment the Pope sent his first tweet — which, in case you were wondering, was sent from an iPad

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