As of Saturday, March 19, Pope Francis can be found on Instagram under his Latin name Franciscus. This marks the anniversary of three years since his inauguration as the Bishop of Rome. Pope Francis is already extremely popular on social media, with over 8 million followers on his Twitter account.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis met with Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom at the Vatican to discuss the power of images and how pictures can “unite people across borders, cultures and generations”, reports Time.
“For a man who admits he doesn’t know how to use a computer, it’s remarkable that Francis has been named the most influential global leader on social media,” says Michael J. O’Loughlin, author of The Tweetable Pope, a book that looks at the Pope’s revolutionary mission through the extensive use of social media.
By taking to Instagram, Pope Francis proves yet again that he acknowledge the effectiveness of social media. He understand that through such a medium, he is able to reach maybe even millions of people every day and deliver the faith’s message to them.
The Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom gave the Pope a warm (virtual) welcome, by posting a photo – of him shaking hands with the Pope, with the message: “Watching Pope Francis post his first photo to Instagram today was an incredible moment. @franciscus, welcome to the Instagram community! Your messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark.”
CNN reports that Pope Francis hit one million Instagram followers within 12 hours of launching his account.