Last week, the Vatican revealed that the Pope had joined Twitter. Though he managed to amass hundreds of thousands of followers in just a few days, the @pontifx Twitter feed remained unused until today. Today, Pope Benedict sent his first message out into the Twitterverse. The message expressed gratitude for the positive feedback he has received since joining the micro-blogging service and, of course, included a blessing.
"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 tweeted.
Roughly one hour later, Pope Benedict began to tweet about how people can better celebrate their faith on a day-to-day basis. Since this morning's first tweet, Pope Benedict has sent out a total of seven tweets. However, it seems he hasn't quite gotten the hang of hashtags, as he hasn't used a single one since he started tweeting, which is a bit of a missed opportunity, considering the amount of responses he's probably getting.
So far, almost 850,000 people are following the Pope on Twitter. According to a New York Times article posted last week, The Vatican is hoping that the Pope's foray into the wild world of social media will help the church connect with young people. The Pope has a total of eight accounts, which he uses to send out tweets in different languages. If you combine the number of followers across all eight accounts, Pope Benedict has surpassed a million followers on Twitter.
The Washington Post reports that a Twitter employee was on hand when the Pope sent out his first tweet. According to a Vatican spokesperson that spoke to the Post, his first tweet was all his own words. No word on whether subsequent tweets were sent by a Vatican spokesperson or were also penned by Pope Benedict.