Ask the pope
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Dec 04, 2012 | 1532 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pope Benedict XVI touches a touchpad to send a tweet for the launch of the Vatican news information portal "www.news.va", at the Vatican. Photo: Osservatore Romano/Associated Press/File
Pope Benedict XVI touches a touchpad to send a tweet for the launch of the Vatican news information portal "www.news.va", at the Vatican. Photo: Osservatore Romano/Associated Press/File
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Twitter is many things: instantaneous, snarky, instructive, dangerous, global, handy. As the Internet goes, and considering its 140-character limitations, it’s not the place where you’d expect to find deep, rewarding conversations about theology or faith.

Our advice to Pope Benedict XVI: Welcome to Twitter — but use it with caution. Misunderstood or poorly constructed tweets can be the ’net’s version of a biblical plague, an outbreak of misinformation or inflamed opinions.

If you haven’t heard, the Vatican has opened a Twitter account for the pope (@pontifex) with which he will answer questions about matters of faith. Unfortunately, Catholics and non-Catholics alike will have to wait until Dec. 12 for the pope’s first tweet.

There’s something else we didn’t think we’d ever see. The pope’s first tweet.

Give the Vatican props for joining this part of the 21st century. Like it or loathe it, Twitter is entrenched in today’s modern world. Social media’s many forms are a conduit for all sorts of communication, be it newsworthy, inane or papal.

It’s ironic that the pope’s Twitter account was announced Monday, the same day President Obama hosted a Twitter question-and-answer session live from the White House. Today’s politicians and authority figures who desire to reach as wide an audience as possible are right to embrace technology’s advances. That’s happening here in Alabama, where Gov. Robert Bentley and many legislators are prolific Twitterers. It makes us wonder: What about Calhoun County’s mayors? For example, what would a tweet from Oxford’s Leon Smith look like?

As for the pope, he already had more than 426,000 Twitter followers Tuesday afternoon. Clearly, the world eagerly awaits the first papal tweet.
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