In his first week on Twitter with his Twitter handle @pontifex Pope Benedict XVI topped a record number of followers, exceeding pop stars like Justin Bieber in the percentage and number of retweets of his messages. More than 1.2 million followers of the Pope – out of the more than two million of the current total of his followers – decided to share the message of good wishes – “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”. Instead, only 0.7 per cent of the pop star's fans considered it appropriate to retweet his words last 26 September when Bieber posted what became the second most widespread message of 2012 and so far of his career in the social media.
A first glance at the statistics shows that this data is part of a broader trend: on the site a lot is being said about spirituality and religion, and “the faithful are more active in retweeting the Pope's words than the fans of Bieber the pop star”, as the online experts of Twitter confirm. It is telling that the Pope already had more than a million followers before the Audience last 12 December, at which Benedict XVI sent his first tweet, and within 24 hours his followers online increased by 750,000. The latest available data, updated at noon on 30 December, speaks of 2,108.484 followers.
In the coming weeks the Pope will also be tweeting in Chinese and Latin, in addition to the eight languages already activated