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Tweets on Pope Francis’ PH visit break Twitter records

/ 05:20 PM January 30, 2015
Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Pope Francis drew a “rockstar” turnout during his recent visit to the Philippines and his influence was just as powerful in social media, a space the world leader has used to effectively spread the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Indeed, tweets about the visit in the days leading up to Pope Francis’ arrival until after he left for Rome “broke records” on Twitter in the Philippines, according to its partner Smart Communications.

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Smart, sharing data from the popular San Francisco, United States-based microblogging social media platform, said there were more than 3.3 million tweets related to the papal visit from January 13 to January 20. Tweets are messages posted on Twitter that are capped at 140 characters in length.

That figure suggested the massive awareness and excitement over the trip, given that Pope Francis’ actual visit was from January 15-19. His arrival, in particular, caused volumes to peak—with Twitter recording about 3,664 tweets per second in the Philippines on January 15.

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Filipinos also appreciated the Pope’s tweet on January 16, when he posted a message in the local vernacular.

Through his official @Pontifex account, the Pope tweeted “Ang Pilipinas ay patunay ng kabataan at kasiglahan ng Simbahan” (The Philippines is witness to the youth and vitality of the Church).

Smart said this was the most retweeted in the country and also the Pope’s most popular tweet to date with 76,000 “retweets” and almost 90,000 favorites.”

Pope Francis is now the second most followed world leader on Twitter, with his messages on Catechism and the Church’s position on moral and social issues being consistently shared several thousand times.

Prior to his Philippines visit, Pope Francis had over 17 million followers across his nine accounts in different languages. During his visit to the Philippines, his @Pontifex account added over 365,000 followers.

“Whether physically present during the papal activities or not, we were able to share our warm welcome and amplify our voice to converse with other Filipinos and Catholics all over the world through Twitter. Here is a part of our nation’s digital footprint, a digital imprint of our singular papal visit experience,” Smart spokesman Ramon Isberto said in a statement.

Announced two days before the Pope’s arrival, Twitter and Smart teamed up to provide free access to the popular social networking app for the duration of the papal visit, from January 15-19, 2015.

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This was aimed at helping Filipino twitter users to get real-time news and updates, send wishes using the #DearPopeFrancis hashtag and participate in the social media conversation.

Many mobile Internet users in the Philippines registered and availed of the free service, Smart said.

With over 284 million monthly active users around the world–80 percent of whom are on mobile–Twitter has become an essential social medium for netizens keeping an eye on real-time updates and social pulse on significant events and issues in the Philippines and around the world.

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TAGS: papal visit, Pope Francis, Smart Communications, Social Media, Twitter
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