VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis was elected three months ago today and woke up with a little anniversary present: For the first time, the number of followers of his Twitter account in Spanish surpassed the number of followers of his English account.
The number of followers of the papal Twitter account, launched by Pope Benedict XVI almost exactly six months ago, has risen day by day.
The pope’s Latin-language account — @Pontifex_ln — hit 100,000 May 19.
Each day since Pope Francis’ election March 13 the number of followers of his Spanish account — @Pontifex_es — increased slightly more than the number of English followers did.
In the last two weeks it was clear that the Spanish was about overtake the English, but it almost felt like a watched pot — close, closer, really close, but not yet. For example, yesterday morning the English account garnered 2,000 more followers while the Spanish grew by 6,000. Yesterday afternoon, 3,000 followers signed on to the English account and 7,000 were added to the Spanish. When I left the office, the English still had 6,000 more followers.
But sometime overnight that changed. At 9:30 Rome time this morning, Pope Francis’ Spanish account had 2,588,198 followers. The English was trailing by 648 people.
The total number of followers of the pope’s nine accounts (Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, French, Latin, German, Polish and Arabic) was about 6.9 million at noon today.
The super-Vaticantracker Il Sismografo — an Italian blog — said that when Pope Benedict XVI retired Feb. 28 there were about 3 million @Pontifex followers in total.