Using the Twitter handle @Pontifex, Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first tweet Wednesday, saying “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
As of noon, the pope already had around 834,000 followers.
According to the Vatican, the pope used an iPad to send the message, and it was published after the blessing that concluded Wednesday’s general audience and displayed on a screen installed in the Paul VI Hall.
After sending his first tweet around 6 a.m. EST, he has posted several other messages, using the popular social media dashboard application TweetDeck.
In addition to the English @Pontifex account, he has seven other handles that each translate his tweets to another language—Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic.
Including those accounts, the pope already has more than a million followers.
So far, his messages haven’t included hashtags or other Twitter handles.
He also won’t be following others, according to Greg Burke, a Vatican communications adviser.
Throughout the day, however, the pope will be responding to three questions from three different continents, said the Vatican.