No jokes, no kittens. Pope presses send on his first tweets

In the beginning – more than a week in advance – was the press conference at the Vatican, announcing to a packed chamber of religious correspondents the coming event. The pope was joining Twitter, Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, revealed on 4 December The move into new media was borne of the holy father’s desire to “encounter men and women wherever they are, and begin dialogue with them”.And for once, believers would know the day and the hour – 12 December, around 10.30am, at the Twitter address @pontifex – and seven associated accounts in different languages. The microblogging site may be a medium that thrives on rapid spontaneity, but the holder of a 2,000-year-old post is entitled to take a longer view, and at least this way his followers – for once the term had a literal as well as metaphorical application – had a week to prepare themselves for the inaugural papal tweet.

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