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Tech-savvy Pope Benedict XVI sets up Lenten Twitter

pope022312_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NOW THAT’S FUNNY

He already has a Facebook page, with over 35,000 likes. Now the Pope is tweeting daily during Lent to get his message out to the younger generation and the social media set.

I got all excited when I read this, because I’m on Twitter, too, and I’m a Catholic. Lent is a time to seek a deepened relationship with God, and if the Pope thinks Twitter can help me do that, I’m in.

The Pope is tweeting his Lenten messages on @Pope2YouVatican. The one from today says “The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. #Lent

The Pope uses hashtags! He’s holy AND media savvy!

At first it’s a little tricky to follow the Pope on Twitter. He has an account, @Pope BenedictXVI, which is mostly daily Vatican business. It seems pretty dull, but it does have 40,000 followers. Then there are all kinds of iffy Pope sites, like @PopeBXVI, and @PA Pope Benedict XVI, which are not officially papal tweets, and certainly not Lenten inspiration.

On the Lent site, @Pope2YouVatican, the Pope tweets in many different languages. This makes sense because there are believers all over the world. Right now, as I write this, he has over 6,000 followers, and he is following 91 people. I checked to see who he follows, and they are all people living and working in the field of religion. Frankly, I was trying to dig up a little something interesting, like if he follows Steve Martin, who has 2 million followers, or Angela Merkel, or Jeremy Lin. He does not. If the Pope has Linsanity; he’s not tweeting about it.

If you think about it, Twitter is just another form of missionary work. It’s a way to take the message to the people, instead of waiting for the people to find you. I truly appreciate churches who reach out to all of us living in this crazy, speedy age. The Pope’s message yesterday was “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

That beats the daylights out of other recent tweets I’ve come across like “I don’t want to clean out my pantry” or “I miss Harvey Korman."

One thing we won’t have to worry about is the Pope imploding by tweeting inappropriately in the manner of Gilbert Gottfried or Roland Martin. He certainly won’t be offending anyone. In fact, I think his tweets will not even be his own words; rather, they will be Bible verses. The Pope believes that succinct biblical messages can be very effective ways to communicate, as long as “those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives.” Yes … well, there’s that.

I’m looking forward to following the Pope during these next 40 days. I just have one question – will he use Instagram?

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Follow her on twitter @plobley.

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