MANILA, Feb. 4, 2015 — What happens when the world’s most influential man visits the social media capital of the world? Naturally, Pope Francis’ recent apostolic visit to the Philippines became a trending topic on social media, particularly on the microblogging site Twitter, bringing in his most retweeted tweet.
In fact, Pope Francis’ most retweeted tweet via @Pontifex was his first post in Tagalog, “Ang Pilipinas ay patunay ng kabataan at kasiglahan ng Simbahan” (The Philippines is witness to the youth and vitality of the Church), which recorded 76,000 retweets and over 90,000 favorites. According to a report that Twitter shared through Smart Communications, Inc., that same tweet posted last Jan. 16 is also the Holy Father’s most retweeted tweet to date from the @Pontifex account.
Pope Francis adopted the use of the @Pontifex Twitter account from his predecessor since he rose to the papacy in March 2013 to continue evangelization through social media.
With over 17 million followers across his nine Twitter accounts in different languages, Pope Francis is the second most followed world leader on Twitter. And during his recent visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis added over 365,000 new followers between Jan. 13 to 20.
While in the Philippines last month, Pope Francis posted six tweets in Tagalog that centered on the vitality of the Church; the importance of the family; the essence of suffering; and man’s identity as a child of God. In his last Tagalog tweet, the Holy Father asked for the faithful’s prayers as is his humble custom, saying “Sa aking mga kaibigan sa Sri Lanka at Pilipinas: Naway pagpalain kayo ng Diyos. Sana´y patuloy niyo akong ipagdasal (To my friends in Sri Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you all! Please pray for me).”
According to Twitter, data generated on the @Pontifex’s activity also showed that seven out of the Pope’s top 10 most retweeted tweets are related to his official visit to the Philippines and his top 8 tweet is related to a call for prayer for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013. It is also worth noting that four of the top five most retweeted tweets from @Pontifex account were posted in the Filipino’s vernacular language.
Moreover, the hashtags #PapalVisitPH, #PopeFrancisPH, #BlessedByThePope, #PopeTYSM, #PopeinPH, and #USTPapalVisit, among others were among those trending during the Holy Father’s stay in the country.
According to the same report, overall, there were more than 3.3 million tweets related to the papal visit posted from Jan. 13 to 20. This trend reached its peak on Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. when the Pope arrived in Manila, with 3,664 tweets posted per second. (CBCPNews)