The most important and surprising news for me on Monday, February 11, 2013 was an announcement made by Pope Benedict XVI about his resignation. He would soon resign after nearly 8 years as the head of the Catholic Church because he was too old to continue at the age of 85.
This news was sad in particular, because just a month ago I followed Papal account @Pontifex on Twitter and monitored every tweets posted by this Pope from Germany. No doubt, this is his real microblog among hundreds of impersonated ones with Benedict’s pictures on them.
Many false idols are held up today. For Christians to be faithful, they can’t be afraid to go against the current. – Pope Benedict XVI, January 23, 2013
@Pontixex has been officially launched in December 2012 under strategic help and supervision by young Claire Diaz-Ortiz from Twitter. Since then media started to call her as the Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter, thanks to her interview for Laura Hudson on Wired.
In an article “Five Things I Learned About Life by Helping the Pope to Tweet” which has been published on LinkedIn Ms. Diaz-Ortiz noted that in 2013 everyone needs to be social, even the Pope:
Being social is no longer an add-on, an extra, or even an option for businesses and organizations of any size. To win, you’ve got to be social. The Pope knows it, and so should you.
As it is well-known, the Vatican has a special Pontifical Council for Social Communications. In marketing terminology, it is kind of public relations department of the Church aimed to faith promotion in the Web, new evangelization (according to Papa John Paul II recommendation), and for building relationships online with Christians and lay people. For the last 5 years the Council is led by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. He is also known as a key Vatican diplomat who helped in establishing official diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See in 1993.
I had an honor and pleasure to meet Archbishop Celli in May 2012 in Kyiv, Ukraine when he visited local Catholic Media Center and the Ukrainian version of EWTN TV. He served an amazing mass and had a meeting with local media and PR practitioners, so I studied a lot from him about modern communication tips. Please, enjoy my video report with English-language subtitles about Celli’s visit:
That time I developed and implemented social media marketing strategy for EWTN Ukraine, as well as launched and maintained its social media accounts on YouTube (now it has 31,800 views & 104 subscribers), Facebook (520 likes), Twitter (144 followers), and Google+ (97 people in circles). That was a signficant SMM project, and I really had the same feeling like Ms. Diaz-Ortiz had. I felt myself like the Man Who Got the Pope to Ukrainians via social media. And now I am proud of it.
So, returning to my initial question about the future of @Pontifex, I can say that it will be managed soon by the next Bishop of Rome who will be elected by the Papal conclave of cardinals. And I am pretty sure that the new Pope will also update his Twitter regularly.