Everybody knew that the moment Pope Benedict would start to Twitter, the floodgates would open with responses that were negative. Catholics are used to this, grown a thick skin, smile and love the haters anyway.
But how does the Vatican deal with the negative responses to the @Pontifex account? Carol Glatz wrote an article answering this question on the Pontifical Council for Social Communications’ website:
“Twitter is “an open communications platform,” and the Vatican has readily embraced what the full-fledged exercise of freedom of speech entails, said Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which organized and runs the pope’s eight language-based Twitter accounts.
“We knew there would be negative stuff,” he told Catholic News Service Dec. 13, the day after the pope first tweeted more than 1 million “followers.” The number of followers of the pope’s multi-language accounts nearly doubled to more than 1.7 million just 24 hours later.
The Irish-born Msgr. Tighe said that in sifting through the feedback, “what stuck with me most was all the lovely stuff,” the positive and genuine comments and queries in the midst of the ugly.
Just because there is a negative side to new media doesn’t mean the church should shy away, he said.
Social media has allowed people to be “very honest and even more than honest at times” in a very public way, he said. “But you can’t abandon it and leave it at that. We have to see its potential to do good” as a tool for evangelization and as a global forum for respectful dialogue and debate.”
Read the rest of the article here.