The Instagram world welcomed a new user Saturday whose status could only be described as one of godlike proportion. Pope Francis, the current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, blessed the masses by creating an account on the popular social media site that, to date, features nine photos and two videos.
Although @Franciscus has only been an active user for less than a week, his account already boasts two million followers (myself included). According to CNN, “his new account broke a record for getting one million followers — the previous record was 24 hours held by David Beckham.”
As the first pope to ever create an Instagram account, Pope Francis is redefining the way in which the message of the Vatican reaches people. Before the launch of the Pope’s account, he sat down with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to discuss this historic move.
CNN correspondent Ahiza Garcia reported, “during their meeting in late February, the two discussed ‘the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages.’ They also talked about the possibility that the Pope would join the image-based social media platform, according to a spokesperson from Instagram.”
In the bio section of his account, Pope Francis included a simple quote that seems to reaffirm his mission behind joining the masses on the photo-sharing app. “I want to walk with you along the way of God’s mercy and tenderness,” he wrote. Moreover, his first post showcased a photo of himself kneeling, eyes closed, deep in prayer and silent reflection. The picture gained more than 300,000 likes and more than 34,000 comments. In accordance to his bio, Francis’ caption was simple, yet powerful, “Pray for me.”
According to CNN, “while the account will be separate from the official Vatican account, it will be maintained by members of the Vatican — his Twitter account is also maintained by other people.”
Personally, I believe Pope Francis’ decision to join Instagram is a praiseworthy one. Since the pope took his position in March 2013, he has been known for his humility, love, concern for the poor, emphasis on God’s mercy and, most importantly, his less formal approach to the papacy compared to his predecessors. Francis’ decision to join social media seems perfectly in stride with his desires to fuse a traditional religion into a modernized world.
While it doesn’t appear as though Pope Francis has taken advantage of popular editing apps to enhance his photos, I am sure his content will still revive a tremendous amount of love and support from people all around the globe. That being said, however, there is always room for improvement. Perhaps the pope could incorporate some humor into his photo captions? Maybe a religious pun? How does Moses make his coffee? Hebrews it. Who is the patron saint of poverty? St. Nickeless. You get the idea.
Finally, a question to consider that takes precedence over all others: is Pope Francis #teamfollowback? After seeing that his current “following” number is zero, I’m going to take a guess that such is not the case. But perhaps if I post with enough relevant hashtags, he’ll be compelled to follow me. #Blessed #INeedAMiracle #NoticeMeFrancis.