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Pope Declares Internet 'Futile'

The World's Most Influential Tweeper Thinks Social Media is Bad News

Despite being named 2014’s most influential Twitter user, the Pope has warned young people of wasting time on the ‘futile’ internet. Pope Francis has previously said that the internet is a 'gift from God', but addressing 50,000 German altar servers on pilgrimage to Rome this week he said that smartphones, TV and internet distracts us from good deeds. The Pope said social media should be ‘a network not of wires but of people’, fearing that we are losing ourselves to online networks.

The Pope, who regularly shares his views of modern life with the 4.3m followers of his "futile" '@Pontifex' Twitter account, feels people are too reliant upon technology.

The head of the Catholic Church declared that: ‘Chatting on the internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas and using the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, distracts attention away from what is really important'.

The Pope hasn’t opened a Facebook account because Vatican cardinals worry that he would receive far too much visible and derogatory abuse on the social network; on Twitter however, it is easier to monitor and hide abusive messages from the public eye and here he is an unrivalled success - the world’s number one ‘Tweeper’ no less.

The Church’s move to Twitter was seen largely positively, as a light-hearted way to spread the Pope’s messages of faith. However, the Vatican’s head of social communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, said that the offensive replies to @Pontifex were becoming something of a ‘crisis’. Although abusive comments on Twitter are easier to ignore than those on Facebook (where commenting is more direct and prominent), Mr Celli revealed that the Vatican already spends too many hours ‘cleaning’ the Facebook page of its official news website News.va, and couldn’t afford to invest further time and management into a Facebook account for the Pope.

The Pope has a Twitter account operating in nine different languages, and tweets messages of faith education such as: “We will never be disillusioned or lose our way if we are guided by God”. When previous Pope, Benedict XVI, first opened the account in 2012 he invited users from around the world to ask him questions.

One American mother asked: “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?”

The Pope answered:
“Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you”
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
It seems that the decision to develop a social media strategy for the Vatican was successful, as two years later Pope Francis has beaten President Obama to be named the most influential user on the planet. Although the Pope has fewer followers than Obama, those that do follow him retweet and reply more often. More than 14 million people follow the Pope across his multiple language accounts and each tweet is retweeted on average 17,000 times. David Cameron ranked in at an unlucky 13 and the Queen trails far behind at 36th.


Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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Pope Declares Internet 'Futile' Reviewed by Anonymous on Saturday, August 09, 2014 Rating: 5
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