@Pontifex, The Trendiest new Celeb on Twitter!

Is Twitter slowly taking over the world? Personally, I think so, now that arguably head of the most powerful organization in the world is on twitter. No, it not the President, it’s the Pope. Using the handle @Pontifex he gained over 150,000 followers within six hours of the Vatican’s announcement. The Pope’s first tweet will take place on Dec 12, and will be a question and answer session about faith, and available in 8 languages. According to the Vatican, not all posts will personally be by the Pope, but they will all be approved by him. All of this is part of an effort to get the Catholic Church more involved in Social Media.

Personally, I feel that this is a step on the wrong direction. One of the things we talked about in class, is that while people are more connected than ever, there is actually less social interaction going on. Basically people are lonelier than ever, and church is one of those social institutions that pretty much enforces face to face interaction. Replacing that experience with one line platitudes in 160 characters or less, from the Pope or not, is not a positive step. I’m not saying that the Pope’s tweets are going to completely replace going to church, but to me it’s a step in the direction of broadcasting sermons online and having that count as “church.”

What do you guys think, is social media replacing face to face social interaction? Is Twitter a proper forum for religion? Do you think that having the Pope on twitter is a good thing or a bad thing?Image

10 responses to “@Pontifex, The Trendiest new Celeb on Twitter!

  1. I disagree with you. If the Pope was creating a Facebook page, or blog, or a podcast, then maybe you could argue that church sermons were beginning to shift to the digital way. But a sermon in 140* characters or less isn’t at all any kind of sermon. I think it’s a great way for the Pope to interact with his congregation and to spread a sense of unity to his church. Also, I think it gives the promotes a sense of interaction amongst the Catholic populations — most because so many of them have join twitter to follow the Pope. The push toward social media will do The Church good.

  2. I think that it is pretty cool, besides the fact that most people who are famous or important people that set up twitter accounts or facebook accounts are not actually the person themselves but a team of social media experts that are posting for them. I think that it is cool that they are trying to make him seem more “with the times” and maybe it will help promote religion… but even if it doesn’t or isn’t used for that, he has a right to have a twitter account and I think that people should respect that right.

  3. I think it’s a pretty cool idea honestly, I don’t think that it harms communication with anyone at all. If anything I bet that the Pope and the Vatican probably seem like unreachable entities that are hard to communicate with. Them having a Twitter account, as silly as that is probably helps open up lines of communication between the general public and themselves. For someone it might be just what they need for an extra boost of faith.

  4. I believe that social media is definitely replacing face to face interaction. I think this is the case even moreso with younger kids who have grown up around social media. Don’t get me wrong, our generation for the most part has grown up around it too, but it didn’t really become popular until early high school years for us. The younger generation now, however, has been exposed to social media their whole lives. I have seen second and third graders have Facebook, which at the time struck me as extremely bizarre, but I guess it’s really not all that uncommon. Thus, I personally believe that within the next 20 or 30 years there will hardly ever be any opportunity to have face to face social interaction. I could definitely see schooling taking place solely online, out of the comfort of one’s own home.

    Also, I do not think media is a proper forum of religion. Part of being religious is the community that comes with it. Communal celebration enables people to come together and give thanks together. By broadcasting sermons online, people will stop coming together and therefore lose out on that sense of community. That being said, I think the pope on Twitter is actually kind of cool. It makes him accessible to people who otherwise would never have had the chance to communicate with him.

  5. While I’m sure this will be positive PR for the Church, I’m not really sure it’s a good idea. Although I’m not an expert on Catholic dogma, I believe the Pope is considered to be God’s representative on earth. As such, his words/decrees are authoritative and binding. Can @pontifex really carry the same authoritative weight, especially if the posts come from a different source?

    I suppose when @pontifex starts to convene Church councils live on Twitter I will be impressed.

  6. I completely disagree. I think this is actually something really cool. I think it is great that the Catholic church is trying to reach out to people in a way that they can be receptive. I don’t think this is going to replace going to church. To be honest, I think this is going to be a way to bring people in to the church. People are often intimidated to go to a physical church, especially if they’ve never been to one. Therefore, they are often too shy to go in to a church and ask questions about the faith. If there is a forum where you can at least feel safer, say behind a computer screen, I think it opens the door to find the answers they want. If they are satisfied with that, they may feel like they can go to the physical church. Times are changing, and the church needs to keep up with the people. As long as the message stays the same, I am all for new methods to bring people in!

  7. I’m not sure this is actually replacing any social interaction, though. As long as the Church is still engaging in the same forms of face-to-face interaction that it always has, I think this could be a valuable way for it to keep the attention of youth that don’t bother to attend church.

    I was looking at Emma Watson’s Twitter the other day, and thinking it was so strange to see how human this idol really is. Although the presence of celebrities on Twitter might feel a little strange, I think it could help some people recognize that celebrities are not people to be worshipped. They actually think the same silly, trivial things that we do.

  8. Like sam said above, i think my biggest problem with the @pontifex account is that it takes the community out of the equation. To me church has been more about people coming together, not necessarily about the religion. I think that church, school, clubs/activities, and sports are about building interpersonal relationships and this could potentially take one avenue away from a population that is already growing more distant with one another.

    Also, this whole thing just feels a little too calculated to me. To me it seems like the church is treating this whole thing like a company and marketing their brand.

  9. I don’t know what his plans are for the Twitter account, but I imagine he’s trying to revitalize social interaction among his followers. Lots of people are busy and disconnected socially, but perhaps now they’ll be getting messages on their phones from the Pope encouraging them to remember to go to church and to take some time out to interact with others. If he’s going to reach more people, he has to go where they are, and they’re all on Facebook and Twitter.

  10. Personally I am not a religious person, but I guess if this is an idea that the Pope wants for his “people” and if they agree or not, we all can say it’s a decision that “we can just agree to disagree”. I mean that I social media is increasing to where individuals can avoid or become too lazy to meet another in person and that interaction can get lost within the media. I am a person that can balance both, but I prefer face to face interaction compared to social, but if social media keeps me in touch with an someone I can’t really interact with, it will do. But twitter is a pretty open media that many offensive things can be said, showed and with the opportunity for people to ask the Pope can go different directions. Meaning for example, I searched in twitter the Pope’s twitter name and found comments, images and question that are something that guy should not see. But it depends on the reaction of him and others I guess. But having this guy on twitter is neither good nor bad to me, just depends on the whomever wants to care or not give a care in the world.

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