UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long!
At 9:32 p.m. Saturday Oct. 26, a little more than 24 hours after our original blog post, the @Pontifex accounts reached 10 million followers.
Il Sismografo plots out the papal path to Twitter fame quite nicely:
- @Pontifex accumulated 3.3 million followers in its first two and a half months (from Dec. 12, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013, when Pope Benedict resigned) .
- 6.7 million more people hopped on board between March 17 and Oct. 26.
Pope Francis sent a celebratory tweet to mark the occasion.
Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you! I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me—
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) October 27, 2013
VATICAN CITY — Watch out @KanyeWest and Christina Aguilera @xtina. @Pontifex is hot on your heels.
Pope Francis’ Twitter accounts in nine different languages are ready to reach 10 million followers, putting the leader of the universal church dangerously close to some of the music industry’s biggest artists and Hollywood’s hottest stars.
With 9.9 million followers this week, the pope has pulled ahead of @MTV (Music Television) and @nytimes (The New York Times).
The push in popularity is largely being fueled by the surge in Spanish-language followers of @Pontifex_es, which recently went over 4 million people, beating the English account by nearly one million.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (which runs The Pope App and the news.va aggregator), said the pope’s total tweet-reach, however, goes way beyond just his followers. When people re-tweet the pope’s mini messages, they’re then sent on to more than 60 million people, he told Vatican Radio today.
As we reported this summer, Pope Francis is, in fact, the most influential world leader on Twitter, with the highest number of retweets worldwide. He’s also the second most-followed leader of the world, running behind — albeit by a long stretch — U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Vatican’s media adviser, @GregBurkeRome, said last week that the pope’s Twitter presence has been especially important for Catholic immigrants who work in countries with strict restrictions on religious liberty and have difficulty accessing news or written materials about the church.