Pope Benedict XVI joins Twitter

The Pope has joined Twitter, allowing those who want to get a little closer to the pontiff be the ultimate follower.

Picking the Twitter handle Pontifex, the account is the official Twitter page of Pope Benedict XVI.

"Part of the challenge for the Church in the area of new media is to establish a networked or capillary presence that can effectively engage the debates, discussions and dialogues that are facilitated by social media and that invite direct, personal and timely responses of a type that are not so easily achieved by centralized institutions," the Catholic church has said in a press release detailing the Pope's decision to join Twitter. "Moreover, such a networked or capillary structure reflects the truth of the Church as a community of communities which is alive both universally and locally. The Pope’s presence in Twitter will represent his voice as a voice of unity and leadership for the Church but it will also be a powerful invitation to all believers to express their ‘voices’, to engage their ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ and to share with them the hope of the Gospel that speaks of God’s unconditional love for all men and women." 

Tweets will start on the 12 December to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and come every Wednesday thereafter to begin with. 

Thousands are signing up to follow Benedict even though he hasn't said anything on the social network as yet.

At the start of writing this article he had just over 1,000 followers. At time of publishing he already has more than 3,500. 

 In addition to English, Tweets will also go out in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic, and French via different Twitter accounts. 

"The Pope’s presence on Twitter can be seen as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that is the Church’s presence in the world of new media," said the establishment.