If you had any doubt about the cultural significance of Twitter, consider how quickly after the smoke signals and his debut on the balcony, Pope Francis’ social media team posted the news via Tweet. @Pontifex lives!
Twitter reported that there were 130,000 tweets per minute related to the new pope following his announcement. On Facebook, the top eight most-mentioned terms world-wide were all related to the pope’s selection.
“Shortly after Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared on the white balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Wednesday as Pope Francis, a message written in Latin appeared on the verified @Pontifex Twitter account:
HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM
Translation: “We have Pope Francis.”
Within minutes, the first tweet from the new pope—the 266th pontiff and first South American to ever lead the Roman Catholic Church—was retweeted more than 30,000 times and favorited thousands more.
But some Twitter users poked fun at Pope Francis, noting that the first tweet attributed to the 76-year-old was, like an email from your grandfather, rendered in all-caps.”