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Pope to set up Twitter account

With a longtime YouTube channel and a Web site, the Vatican now is turning to Twitter

The Pope Benedict XVI is showing his technical savvy.

First the Pope launched his own YouTube channel in 2009 and then a year later encouraged priests around the world to go out and blog and use social media sites to speak to congregants.

And now, Pope Benedict is launching a Twitter account, according to a report in the The Guardian. According to the U.K.-based newspaper, the Pontiff won't always personally write the tweets, but will approve all of them.

The Vatican has not announced the Pope's Twitter handle or when the account will be launched.

"The tweet can be reformulated, redistributed, relaunched and disseminated," Father Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Vatican's pontifical council for social communications, told the Guardian. "In this sense, it is like the gospel, a small mustard seed that once scattered grows into bushes where birds can rest."

The Vatican is far from new to social networking.

The Vatican first launched its Web site 16 years ago and launched the channel on YouTube about three years ago.

The YouTube channel was set up to offer daily updates, video and audio clips of the Pope's addresses, and news about the pontiff.

And a little more than two years ago, the Pope urged priests around the globe to use social media to reach out to congregants and potential believers.

The Pope himself released a message in January of 2010, encouraging priests to use computers and social media to take their ministry online. He encouraged priests to use blogs, Web sites, video and images, along with their traditional communication methods.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

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