Pope Benedict XVI spoke up on Twitter for the first time Wednesday morning, delivering three opening messages from his @Pontifex account:
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.
How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?
By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need.
There’s nothing quite like seeing messages from the Pope pop up in your Twitter stream, especially since his avatar (the little image that appears to the side of his messages) is a picture of him smiling and waving. What strange, often grim… but often wonderful… times we live in.
It’s a fairly common rule among Twitter users that “re-tweeting” (re-broadcasting someone else’s message) does not automatically mean endorsement of that message. Just try explaining that to the first person re-Tweeted by the Pope. And while it’s unlikely the Pope will use Twitter for some of its traditional purposes – snarky hashtag games, Chuck Norris jokes, trading insults with random strangers – his opening messages suggest he plans to put this unusual social media tool to good use.