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Pontiff’s visit lights up social media

The weekend bulletins and news feeds were alight with reports of millions of Filipinos taking to the streets amid stormy weather to see Pope Francis.

However, way ahead of the Pontiff’s visit, social media platforms had been lit up by thousands of Catholics posting  prayer requests.

With thousands of tweets, and posts on other channels requesting prayers too, the official @Pontifex Twitter account was inundated.

However, it was not just prayers that people were taking to social media for.

Many other messages were sent welcoming Pope Francis to the country. There were also thousands of posts supporting him for being a more modern leader, with a number of messages welcoming his more contemporary views.

There was also a more fun element added to the social mix, with thousands of Filipinos posting selfies of themselves and the Pope using life-sized cardboard cut-outs.

Talking to the Agence France-Presse news agency, one cancer survivor, Angelique Mina-Rualo, said shortly after she tweeted a message:

“It feels like I am talking to him directly, even if I know it’s run by an administrator.”

The bank worker continued that being able to message the Pope helped to reaffirm her personal faith. It is sentiments such as these that show just how important social media is in the world today.

From the Catholic Church to other less divine organisations, it shows how having direct and instant access for customers and service users is critical to commercial success today.

Many firms would certainly love to have as successful a Twitter account as the boss of the Roman Catholic Church too, as he has just around 17 million followers.

This is marginally less than Barack Obama. However, @Pontifex has a reportedly larger reach. On average, each post from the Papacy is retweeted around 10,000 times, which is about 10 times as much as the US President’s messages are, according to monitoring site Twiplomacy.

Steven Morris

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