This was posted on NBC New’s Facebook page with the caption, “What a difference 8 years makes: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and yesterday.”
Anyone manning a social media channel Wednesday shouldn’t be surprised by yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal: “Cardinal Bergoglio was mentioned more than 5 million times in the hour after being named pope, according to Horacio Cairoli, founder of Social Ad, a social media monitoring agency.”
The juxtaposition of the lightning quick response and the ancient event itself was captured masterfully by James Poniewozik of Time in his story, “The Papal Announcement: For a Day, (Very) Old Media Triumph.”
Poniewozik writes: “There was no high-tech rollout. There were no exit polls. There was just an archaic signal–white smoke billowing out from a pipe atop an ancient building. And then suspense: no leaks from highly placed sources, no reports from advance men. Just cameras trained on a balcony in Rome as the lights switched on and shadows scuffled about behind it. Then a curtain opened, and the glass doors and–Habemus Papam. The announcement of the pope was one of the few remaining legitimately suspenseful events that we get to witness today.”
At BC, we, like most around the world, paused to watch – standing in front of the television or huddled around computer terminals. Within seconds, our Twitter and Facebook feeds erupted with the news. In the Office of News & Public Affairs, the phones blasted with reporters clamoring for help reaching Jesuits, faculty and students. Reflecting on the hectic day, it was an interesting example of how tradition successfully pushed back against and then capitalized upon the rapid proliferation of technology.