Did you know that the Pope has 1.5 mil followers and only follows 8 people, all of whom are himself? @pontifex
— Jay Wexler (@SCOTUSHUMOR) January 31, 2013
Antonio Casilli floats the Pope a few tips on how to use Twitter after his first month on the platform. Since only 10% of feedback was positive, he encourages Benedict to actually engage his critics:
[Y]ou are used to trolling, because you and your predecessors all throughout the centuries have been the target of some form of it. Of course, back then it went by other names: heresy, blasphemy, apostasy… Assuredly, the tone and contents of the negative comments conveyed on Twitter were not dissimilar from long-lasting criticisms of the Catholic church: sexual misconduct, clerical corruption, opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about the divinity of Christ or apostolic dignity, and so on.
Indeed, it would be too easy – and historically inaccurate – to declare that trolls are the modern versions of past heretical thinkers such as Girolamo Savonarola, Giordano Bruno, Martin Luther. It would also mean betraying the Roman Catholic Church’s intentions as to the way of dealing with them. Your digital analysts have been adamant about that: these negative comments will not prompt your condemnation. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, as the old adage goes – and for once, nobody will have it.