Move over Obama, now the pope's on YouTube
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YouTube and God
In a welcome message titled, "[The] Internet a new way to speak of God," the pope said, "You must find new ways to spread voices and images of hope through the ever-evolving communications system that surrounds our planet."
"I think that the purpose of a communications tool like this one is to help build up a large family that knows no borders," he said in another video. "One in which, with its variety of cultures and languages, all people are brothers and sisters. In this way they represent a force for peace."
Although it's not likely we're going to see clips of Pope Benedict XVI ghost-riding the Popemobile, the goal of the channel is to reach out to younger people.
"With the YouTube platform, we now have the capacity to give young people direct access to the thinking, to the thoughts, to the words and deeds of the pope," Monsignor Paul Tighe told CNN. "That allows them to share that with their friends."
Vatican TV and radio will initially provide most of the content. The site will be updated daily they say and will eventually offer interactive features so visitors can upload their own videos (although ghost-riding will probably be discouraged).
Is Facebook next?
And the pope has already talked about online social media, albeit in a cautioning tone."It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation," the pope wrote.
"If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development," he said.
Although there are plenty of news articles out about the launch of the new site, one news source reports there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in the new site.
"The channel ... lagged way down the list of popular YouTube videos," AFP reported. "A video entitled 'Bratz Dolls May Give Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size' was at the top of the site's flagged clips at the same time, having racked up more than 185,000 views."
The pope shouldn't feel that bad. More than 2,300 people have subscribed to his videos in less than one day. Meanwhile, just 3,400 people have subscribed to President Obama's video channel, and it's been up since Tuesday.