The Pope Is On Twitter

“On Monday, the Vatican announced that the 85-year-old pontiff would begin posting messages on Twitter next week…” -- New York Times

To: Pope

From: Brad Callow, founder, CEO, visionary, rock star, guru, and evangelist,

Re: social media outreach

Hey Your Holiness, hope this finds you well. I’m emailing you because I read the great news in the industry trades: you’re finally joining Twitter! This is a great step towards bringing your organization into the 21st century. And I thought you might appreciate some advice from a veteran social media expert.

First of all, love the Twitter handle @pontifex: anything that ends in an “x” is great, VC firms eat that up. Another good option would have been “pontifox” like Firefox, foxes are very in right now with tech folks. “Pontifix” would also be good, it’s like you’re Mr. Fixit or people have to follow you to get their fix, like they’re addicted. Just avoid “pontifax” -- you don’t want “fax” anywhere near your name, what is this, the 1980s?



I see you managed to get over 100,000 followers within just a few hours. Obviously you have amazing brand equity to draw on and people are interested in your story. That’s great news. But how do you keep the story going in the age of constant engagement? Remember, your followers will want/expect to be educated and informed, but also amused and entertained. I would recommend a mix of proverbial wisdom, “news you can use,” and some funny, crazy tweets with random video links and just whatever’s going on behind the scenes in the Holy See. Do you have Vatican dogs? Dogs around the office are solid gold. And don’t worry too much about being inappropriate -- hire a 20-year-old intern and blame any mistakes on him/her.

One thing I have to say I disagree with: you’re not going to follow anyone? Ben -- can I call you Ben? -- this is social media here, and the whole point is to be social! You should seriously consider at least following some other thought leaders, otherwise you run the risk of making the Papacy look aloof and distant, even out of touch. Maybe the Orthodox Patriarch? Tim Cook? Justin Bieber? Just throwing out ideas, you’ll know better than me who’s in your relevant peer group.

Finally, just remember that social media is one part of a holistic brand experience that requires 360-degree visualization. I mean it’s time to shake up everything, including your venue/retail experience. You might want to look at/model after some big successes, there’s no shame in borrowing from older, more established players. Key words: less ceremony, more efficiency! For example, what about making the Vatican experience more like an Apple Store?  Even play up the parallel, call it the Papal Store!

Okay, these are just a couple suggestions off the top of my head. If you’re interested in talking further about my insights or what can do for the Papacy, please feel free to email, tweet, or call!



1 comment about "The Pope Is On Twitter".
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  1. Kenneth Hittel from Ken Hittel, December 5, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.

    Spot on -- so much more effective than the usual "serious" skewering of Gurus, Ninjas, etc.

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