Despite earlier reports that Pope Benedict's resignation means curtains for the official @Pontifex Twitter account, it looks like the account will stay alive while the Papal Conclave selects his replacement.
At least according to the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Paul Tighe.
“During the period between today and the election of new pope the account will be inactive...not shut down,” Tighe told Forbes.
According to Tighe, the Twitter account will be kept on ice so that the next pope can determine whether or not he wants to continue the social media communications unveiled under Benedict.
“Obviously we leave all decisions to the new man. But we would hope that he might continue to use @pontifex, which would maintain continuity,” he said.
Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 28, 2013
The Pope first started tweeting out his daily messages on December 12th of last year, and has currently sent 39 tweets and amassed nearly 1.6 million followers (english language).
We recently learned that the 117 Cardinals, whose job it is to select the next pope, will be barred from all Twitter use. This shouldn't surprise anyone, considering the secrecy of the Papal Conclave - all outside communications will be restricted. It really should matter that much, as only 9 out of the 117 Cardinals even operate personal Twitter accounts.