September 16, 2010
The Pope is here in the UK today, but where is he in social media land? I thought I would do a quick check on some of the big networks and see what kind of presence the Holy Father has.One quick search and we can see he is all over the place, or is he? There are more than 80,000 Popes on Facebook. Before you ask, yes, that does included all those called Mr Pope or Pope Smith, but even the pages search – more than 500 results – is most confusing.
This Facebook page (unofficial) does a good job of seeming to be affiliated with the official Pope Benedict XVI (although it isn’t) and has managed to attract over 127,000 connections. Just ten seconds reading some rather polarised wall posts and I think I can see why an official page might be a little difficult.
Twitter has a lot of pretenders to the Vatican’s throne. However, there is no genuine Papal profile although this one does look quite realistic.
Go to YouTube however – where it is much more about being a virtual pulpit – and the Vatican has done a decent job of building a channel that will surely give the faithful (all 25,000 of them) something to do online. Just don’t expect to be able to comment.
Seriously though, if social media gives us a view into the mind of the next generation of social, business and political leaders, then the Catholic religion seems to be even further out of touch than I first thought. He has obviously identified the problem when asking priests to blog back at the beginning of the year. How about leading by example your holiness? Just don’t forget that social media is a two way conversation, no pulpit heroes here please!
P.S. Thank you PaddyPower for the photo. Do click on the image above to check out popewatch.org