SO THIS IS how I imagine it went down:
Pope Francis said something cool — which really shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention — and I tweeted a link, adding my own praise for the still fairly new fearless leader of the Roman Catholic Church. This happened one night, oh about 10 or so, in the not-so-distant past and represented nothing noteworthy, really.
But then something else happened, notable to none but me. Sorry, I’m sharing anyway.
Pope Francis “favorited” my tweet.
I wanted to pick up the phone. “Papa, you still up?” Or, “Papa, you already up?” Would have been about 4 a.m. in Vatican City, so either could have been the case.
Now back to the part where I imagined the circumstances. That word is key here, understand. From a couch in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I tweeted my admiration for the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and he, in his by-all-accounts humble papal quarters in magnificent Italy, got an immediate notification on his iPhone. (I’m guessing here; he might be a Droid guy, but let’s go with iPhone.) He liked what he saw, so he — pardon all the terminology if you’re not of this vaunted Twitter world — favorited it and went about his business, which was either a) falling back to sleep or b) frying an egg. His own egg, of course. The man we’ve all heard so much about almost certainly makes his own morning meal.
Then he switched over to another new media, Facebook-friended me to thank me for the tweet, and we exchanged phone numbers. An hour later he called me, and now we’re BFFs. And I get to tell everyone that, yes, I happen to be one of those lucky folks whom the pope decided to call out of the blue one day just to chat. Or say he understands.
And you believe me, right? Darn. Didn’t think so. But it is true, I solemnly attest, that @pontifex — that’s the handle for the pope’s verified account — did favorite my tweet. What I don’t know (and don’t need to, thank you) is how many Vatican staffers on how many levels — the intern’s intern? — are granted access to @pontifex. Or which one pulled the shift that includes 4 a.m., perhaps a less selective, more droopy-eyed time for the papal help directed to decide who gets a favorite or a retweet or some similar high-holiness cyber-shout-out across the miles.
The point is I got one, and suddenly I had to rethink my previous neutral-on-Twitter philosophy. It’s not that I don’t want to keep up; it’s just that each day giveth us only 24 hours, and the healthy Renaissance-plus human being is expected to work eight, sleep eight and play eight. So if your balance is way off — as mine is — and you already have to fit tedious chores into the “play” category, it’s kind of tough to allocate the extra minutes for all this 140-character creativity when you’re also trying to keep up on the lives and times of hundreds of fellow Facebookers (at least a handful of whom you know about as well as the pope) and make your Words With Friends moves in timely fashion besides. (What? So yesterday? You don’t play anymore? Well, good for you. You’ve moved on; I haven’t. Learning the words jo and jee and qi, I’ve reasoned, has been slightly better for my brain than decoding the scramble of symbols that is #, @ and the like.)
But I bit the Twitter bullet regardless, having built just a tiny nest in birdville so far: 19 tweets and 24 followers; I’m so lame. But, hey, at least I got in line before the highly publicized IPO and all the grand speculation about whether Twitter is truly in it to win it or ultimately will sizzle then fizzle like a golden egg in a Vatican frying pan.
OK, I confess: I’m hoping for the W. After all, if Pope Francis and I keep this up, I imagine my embossed breakfast invitation to Rome will be in the mail any day now.