Use of New Media in the Vatican

As the Catholic church chose a new Pope this past week, there was a lot of attention on the use of technology in the Vatican. From the resignation of Pope Benedict in February to the selection of Pope Francis this past Wednesday, discussions of new media’s place in the Vatican have been circulating in the news.

Pope Benedict was the first to hold both a Facebook and Twitter account, showing the Vatican wanting to move into the age of social media. And in a smart move by Vatican officials, rather than closing out his twitter account fully after the announcement of his stepping down, it was changed to reflect the beginnings of the new selection process. (Kanalley)

Even with this new technology, the voting process for Pope Francis still upheld the traditions that have been in place since 1914, according to David Morgan of CBS news. Those traditions, which exclude the use of any technology within the voting process, were ironically enforced by the use of technology. Cell phone signal blockers were put in to scramble any messages the cardinals may have been tempted to send out prior to the white smoke billowing from the conclaves decision. (Morgan)

There were a whole host of apps created for those of us anxiously awaiting the announcement, according to Rosa Golijan’s article from NBC news. Your choices range from The Pope App, which sends you alerts and news from the Vatican, to Conclave alert, which tracked Tweets mentioning the conclave, as well as having information about possible candidates and the election process. (Golijan)

This story of the new Pope was told to the world through a whole host of different mediums, demonstrating transmedia storytelling. Whether or not the Catholic church wishes to keep up with the new way that people are getting and sharing their information only time will tell. But even if they wish to keep things as they are, the rest of us are going to continue on the path of new media and technology.

A view of Vatican square as Pope Francis speaks for the first time.

Morgan, D. (2013, March 14). The new papacy and new media. CBS News. Retrieved from

Kanalley, C. (2013, February 28). Pope twitter account transforms as benedict resigns, tweets deleted. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Golijan, R. (2013, March 12). Apps keep track of conclave while the vatican’s under a tech lockdown. NBC News: Technology. Retrieved from


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