News Column

Followers Show Faith in Twitter

March 14, 2013

Sara Gaynes

The announcement of a new pope lit up the Twitterverse and dramatically increased Web traffic yesterday as people turned to social media and live feeds to watch the historic announcement and offer their own take on Pope Francis.

Akamai Technologies, a Cambridge company that manages 20 percent of the world's Internet traffic, said video streaming increased fourfold between 2:10 p.m. -- when white smoke started billowing from the Sistine Chapel -- and 3:15, when the selection was announced.

Some of the best tweets:

--"Let's all wish the first South American and Jesuit pope the very best as we see the dawn of a new Catholic Church. An inspired choice." -- Thomas P. O'Neill III, CEO of O'Neill and Associates in Boston, @tponeill3

--"HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM" ("We have Pope Francis") is the first official tweet on the pope's account -- @Pontifex (All others in the stream have been erased.)

--"The Pope's middle name is 'Mario!' That's a sign. Can't go wrong with a name like that ... #Cath-olic" -- "Extra" host Mario Lopez, @mariolopezextra

--"Did @CNN just say, "This new pope needs no introduction"? Is it Madonna?" -- Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin, @kathygriffin

--"Based on today's Twitter conversation, a movie about #VeronicaMars vs. the Pope would be a guaranteed hit." -- @TheAcademy (of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)

--"It's official; there's a new Pope! Phone has not rung (so) I guess I finished second." -- Actress Bette Midler, @bettemidler

--"Magnifico!! Love the fact that Pope Francis is both from South America AND has Italian ancestry." -- pundit Laura Ingraham, @IngrahamAngle.

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