The Pope Comes to Twitter via @pontifex
Few world leaders now operate without a social media presence. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron joined Twitter earlier this year, whilst Obama has been widely praised for his use of social media during the presidential election campaign.
An unlikely Twitter user has joined the Twitterati this week however, with news that the Pope has joined Twitter using the @pontifex handle.
A Vatican spokesman for the Pope revealed that he wanted to reach out to the Catholic community, with his tweets being translated into eight languages.
It's expected that his first tweet will be made on the 12th December, although he has previously tweeted from a Vatican account last year.
"We are going to get a spiritual message. The Pope is not going to be walking around with a Blackberry or an iPad and no-one is going to be putting words into the Pope's mouth," Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican said.
"He will tweet what he wants to tweet," he added, though the leader of the world's 1.2 billion or so Roman Catholics is expected to sign off, rather than write, each individual tweet himself.
Whilst few world leaders actually engage with their followers, it's expected that the Pope will be interacting on Twitter. The initial Twitter session is expected to take a question and answer format, with the Pope answering questions about faith. People have already been invited to send in their questions in the hope that he will answer them online.
More general usage of the account will however focus on messages from his general audience, Sunday blessings and the papal reaction to world events.
The Catholic church have already made use of channels such as YouTube and SMS messaging, and the official Vatican account has over 100,000 followers (despite not following anyone itself).
Do you think the new account is a good idea? Will you follow @pontifex?