Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How The Pope Is Faring On Instagram.

Pope Francis made it public on Thursday that he would be launching his Instagram page, as at Saturday, the page was launched. The page which is barely 3 days have garnered a number of followers in the millions, while the Pope is yet to follow any organization or individual. The world actually awaits his first following.

With a historic 1.5 million followers and five posts on the page as of Monday, when his page was barely two-day old, the Pope has yet to follow any user on the platform.
His account was christened on Saturday with a photo of him, kneeling down in prayer. The image was accompanied with a message, “Pray for me” and it was translated into nine languages.
He also took to Twitter to welcome his 8.9 million followers with a message, “I am beginning a new journey on Instagram to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God.”
Pope Francis’s social media messages are often anchored on themes, such as the unity of faith and love for all, irrespective of race and religion. On Thursday, he tweeted in like manner: “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God. The church is the house where everyone is welcomed and no one is rejected.”
He hit one million followers within 12 hours of launching his account, setting a new record on Instagram. The new account has smashed previous mark set by an English football legend, David Beckham.
Last May, Beckham received one million followers in 24 hours to set a record on Instagram. He signed up on the platform to mark his 40th birthday. The ex-footballer’s first post also got 900,000 likes within a few hours.
Due to the ‘virility’ of his first post, the Pontiff is trailing behind the football star. The Pope’s first photograph, as of Sunday, had 235,000 likes. But, in terms of followership, his first 12-hour performance equals what Beckham achieved in 24 hours.
 What is also important is that as of 5pm on Monday, the leader of Roman Catholics had yet to follow any member of the Instagram family.
If he chooses to exercise similar restraint in the manner with which he handles his Twitter page, there may not be many ‘followings’ on the Pope’s Instagram page. He joined Twitter in May 2012, but as of Monday he had only eight followers to his credit. Interestingly, the eight pages are different versions of his (personal) Twitter profile.
Pope Francis has nine dedicated Twitter pages signed up in nine different international languages, enabling him to interact with people from different regions of the world. His Instagram handle – Franciscus – is already a ‘meeting point’ for many Christians who have started sharing their thoughts and ideas directly with the Vatican.
News of the Pope’s plan to join Instagram broke on Thursday. It came few weeks after he met with the Chief Executive Officer of Instagram, Kevin Systrom. The content of their discussion went viral in February.
Reports said that both men discussed “the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages” during their meeting.
The Pope, following his promise to Systrom, joined the platform on the third anniversary of his papal inauguration.
Analysts have hailed the Pontiff’s decision to join the platform, which is becoming increasingly popular among countries dominated by Catholics, such as France, Brazil, Italy and Mexico.
Back home, Nigerian clerics have yet to show a serious interest in Instagram. But a reasonable number of leading pastors are visible on Twitter and Facebook where, like Pope Francis, they reach out to millions of people.
But there appears to be a remarkable difference in the manner the Pontiff and Nigerians ‘reach out’ to people on social media. While the former seeks to teach the world the essence of love among difference races, many local pastors limit their messages to prayers and evangelism.

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