Conclave gets trendy on Twitter
Most would agree there is a great deal of interest in this papal conclave, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Some say it’s because of social media, specifically the introduction of Twitter.
Father James Mallon is what one would call Twitter savvy.
“About, this is really embarrassing, about every 2 minutes,” says Father Mallon.
In addition, he expects that’s how he’ll find out who the new pope is.
“A little ding! The same ding that woke me up at 7 o’clock in the morning a couple of weeks ago, letting me know that Pope Benedict had resigned.”
The last conclave took place in 2005. Twitter wasn’t invented until a year later, and certainly smart phones have become a lot more popular since then.
“There are currently nine cardinals who are active on social media,” says Philip Mai, research manager of the Social Media Lab at Dalhousie University.
Mai says Twitter is starting a conclave conversation.
“Before they can sit at home and watch it on the news, but now people are actively participating and feeling like they’re a part of this whole process.”
Trending on Twitter worldwide today are “Pope,” “Conclave,” “Rome,” and “Vatican.”
“Those are the topics that people are talking about the most,” explains Mai.
People who say they would normally never talk about a conclave admit they’re now a little more informed.
“I’ve seen a few articles on the possible Canadian pope,” says university student, Matt Jamieson. “The possible Guinean pope is interesting too. But that’s really all I’ve looked at, so I guess overall I know a little bit more.”
“Yeah I think there is a buzz on social media,” adds university student, Sohnia Mutter. “I think that social media has a lot of influence on what people can think.”
So while the mysterious ritual that is stepped in history will still exist, there will be a new practice.
“As soon as the smoke appears, so will the tweets,” explains Mai. “The tweets are going to be flying just as fast as the smoke is flying.”
The latest check online shows the terms, “Sistine Chapel” and “black smoke” are also now trending on Twitter.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell