It’s a Twitter Smack-Down – Lady Gaga vs the Pope!

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will post messages on Twitter starting December 12 under the handle @pontifex – which is not an Italian sports car model, but a Latin term that means “bridge builder.”

Could this mean that the Queen of Twitter may have a contender on her hands?

With nearly 32 million followers, Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) sits at the top of Twitter’s Tower of Babel. However, with 1.25 billion potential followers – the estimated number of Catholics, globally – it might seem possible that the Pope could easily breeze past the Gaga to claim the throne.

It would be quite the shakeup. Twitter’s top trio would be the Pontiff, the Poker Face, and the Holy Bieber.

Most social media experts believe that Lady Gaga has nothing to worry about. One model of comparison gaining popularity is that of the Dalai Lama and his legion of Twitter followers.

It’s estimated that there are 2 billion Buddhists worldwide, and the Dalai Lama’s Twitter account (@DalaiLama) has 5.6 million followers. Assuming the same proportion of Catholics would follow the Twitter account of “God’s Representative on Earth,” @pontifex could garner following of around 3.5 million.

The Vatican has confirmed that the Pope will not personally tweet. He will “engage and approve” and aides will keep it at 140 characters or less. He will not follow anyone, either.

While the Pope has a considerably larger fan base than that of Lady Gaga, it seems doubtful that this strategy to grow followers on Twitter will give the social network’s reigning queen any reason to be concerned. I know I certainly won’t be following @pontifex.

I’ll have to go check to see if I follow Lady Gaga.

So Sayeth the StickMonkey

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