After weeks of anticipation, 85-year-old Pope Benedict sent his first tweet on December 12, tapped at the end of his weekly general audience in the Vatican in front of thousands of people. "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart." The pope's English Twitter profile, using the handle @pontifex, is already being followed by a quarter of a million people.