World all a-Twitter as Pope joins social media

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI launched his very own Twitter account Dec. 12, sending a short inaugural message to more than 1 million followers.

“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart,” it said.

His tweet—139 characters—went viral as the number of followers of @Pontifex and its seven other extensions grew by more than 5,000 new people an hour, a Vatican official said. Tens of thousands of followers retweeted the messages  minutes after they were posted.

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