Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A New Pope and Social Media

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
It has been fascinating to watch the news unfold this afternoon as a new pope, Francis I, a Jesuit from Argentina, named Jorge Bergoglio, was elected to lead the Catholic church.  I am not a Catholic, nor do I agree with the patriarchal structure of the Catholic Church, but I am hopeful.  This man seems to be humble and committed to social justice.  Apparently he is also pretty conservative, but the fact that he a Jesuit (never happened before) and the first modern day pope not from Europe, and didn't take a previous name, instead picked a brand new one,  gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, change is afoot.

What is even more fascinating is how the social media world exploded with this news.  It started with posts of "white smoke..."  then evolved into anxious waiting about when he would emerge onto the balcony, and when it was announced that he was from Argentina and a Jesuit and was taking the name Francis I, all sorts of exclamations about how this was hopeful.  Then once it was discovered that he was conservative, some disappointment, but it has all been followed by prayers.  I enjoy this sort of digital presence.  My friends all over the world (Catholic and non), and I am definitely doing the same, are excitedly retweeting and devouring all sorts of news.

Eight years ago, when the last pope was elected, there was no twitter, Facebook was still in its infancy, and our news still came from broadcast media sources.  But the new pope is already tweeting. In Spanish.


Mary Hess said...

I was compelled by the experience of being part of this great mass of people, globally, who were waiting with bated breath for the announcement after the smoke appeared. I first heard his name on social media, NOT news media, and the sense of passion and excitement was palpable. There's something powerful about social media in that way...

AMY HANSON said...

Mary, I too learned about the name of the New Pope on social media and it was exciting to watch this process as it unfolded.