The Internet Pope

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The 79-year-old leader of the Catholic Church is basically a Millennial now.

Pope Francis joined Instagram today as @Franciscus, which is Latin for Francis. His debut post asked followers to “pray for me” in nine different languages. Hours after its launch, the account has more than 980,000 followers and counting. The pope already has a solid presence on Twitter, where he has 8.9 million followers. As Emma has written:

If Francis seems radical, it’s because he has a remarkable PR-savvy, winning the obsessive attention of bloggers and journalists, earning the retweets of the masses, and charming economists and his flock in one fell tweet.

The Holy See press office says “Instagram will help recount the Papacy through images,” but did not say whether Francis prefers crema over mayfair.