Earlier this week news came from The Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI will be retiring from his position at the end of the month. This news came as a shock to the world as a Pope hasn’t stepped down from their position before death since 1415. This news got the whole world talking. A lot of the talk was actually about who the next Pope will be. I even heard that people are making bets about who the next Pope is going to be.
I took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to see how much social media talk has gone on since the announcement. Doing a search for just the word “Pope” since Monday when the announcement was made, I found about 2 million mentions. There was 23,662 blog posts, 34,389 online news stories, 55,461 forum postings and 1,926,276 tweets.
I stretched out the timeline I was looking at to see if that’s a lot more talk than the Pope usually gets. Looking at a week worth of Pope mentions, we can actually see that before Monday there was virtually no talk about him. Then Monday’s announcement hit and talk went through the roof. It faded off a bit since Monday, but we can still see that the subject has people talking.
When a big announcement like this is made, it affects people around the entire world. To illustrate this, I pulled up a heat map of where tweets about the Pope were coming from. As one would suspect, we can see that tweets were coming from all over the world about him, but we can see real concentration in areas with deep Christian roots and an affinity for technology and social media.
Next I looked up the hashtags being associated with the Pope over the past few days. Most of the hashtags seem very common, like “#Pope” or “#PopeResigns” or even “#breaking” for breaking news. But there’s also two very interesting hashtags in the mix. It looks like people are taking to Twitter to campaign for who they want to be the next Pope. Notice the two hashtags “#dpmforpope” and “#balotelliforpope.”
One of those hashtags also came up when I looked at the most retweeted tweets around the Pope. It appears that “#dpmforpope” has a few legs on Twiiter. Of course, I had to look up who “dpm” could be. Turns out that he is a Scottish DJ by the name of Darren Millar who started the campaign himself. Most of the other tweets I found to be the most retweeted were of course jokes. Twitter tends to spread funny tweets and people just can’t help but crack jokes when it comes to religion.
I thought the idea that people were campaigning for who the next Pope should be was interesting, so I did one final search for people using the phrase “for Pope.” When I looked at the most RT’s using this phrase I found some really interesting results. People want the next Pope to be anyone from Heisenberg (the drug dealing alias of Walter White from Breaking Bad) to Bruce Willis to Beyonce.