Brooklyn digital advertising start-up Pontiflex has seen a surge in its Twitter follower count today thanks mostly to Pope Benedict XVI joining Twitter. The Twitter account "@Pontiflex" has a one-letter difference from the Pope's new account, "@Pontifex."
The Pope joined Twitter early on Monday with the pledge to start tweeting on Dec. 12 using the @Pontifex handle for his English-speaking followers. "Pontifex" is the Latin word for "pontiff," the Pope's official title as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Since Monday, the Twitter account for the Brooklyn-based start-up has gained 75–100 Twitter followers per hour according to Crains and has received thousands of mentions.
"The Catholic Church has billions of followers, and here are billions of mobile phone users," said Pontiflex CEO Zephrin Lasker, comparing the mobile advertising platform and the Pope. "I think that's the biggest similarity between us."
Greg Burke, former Vatican correspondent for the Fox News channel who was hired by the Vatican in June to overhaul the Catholic Church's public relations, said: "The first tweets will be answers to questions sent to the Pope on matters of faith. The public can start sending them now."