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TwitterTwitter Bids its First Pope Farewell as Benedict XVI Resigns (The Daily Dot)
After the Vatican’s surprise announcement Monday morning that Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning at the end of the month, Twitter is reacting predictably: with terrible puns. It’s a fitting farewell to the first pope to join the microblogging site. CNN The pope has been active on the social media platform for only two months. Most of the pope’s messages to his 1.5 million followers have promoted Catholic doctrine and teachings, although he has also occasionally commented on current events, condemning violence in Nigeria and Syria. Forbes The establishment of the pope’s presence on Twitter in the first place — a move which likely will find a prominent place in discussions of The Pope’s legacy -– was not a simple choice. When contemplating the creation of the pope’s account, which is now his most visible social media profile, the Vatican anticipated a fair amount of negativity and was forced to consider the implications before moving ahead, according to Monsignor Paul Tighe, one of the leaders of the pope’s social media efforts. The Huffington Post Let’s remember Benedict is the first pope of the Twitter and Facebook age. He was elected on April 19, 2005. Twitter didn’t even exist (it was founded in March 2006). Facebook was college-only at the time (it opened up for high schools in September 2005, it opened up to everyone in September 2006). Los Angeles Times The pope hasn’t as much as tweeted a “Bye-bye!” from the Twitter account the Vatican made a great deal about opening a few months ago. As of 10:40 a.m. PDT Monday, his most recent tweet was one from Sunday prior to his resignation announcement: “We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new,” he tweeted Sunday, in what now seems like a lifetime ago.”

Google+ Makes Friend-Finding Interface More Like Facebook’s (SocialTimes)
Although Google’s “Circles” has been recognized for modeling more selective sharing practices than those facilitated, at least initially, by Facebook, the company is abandoning the term and introducing a friend-discovery interface that is more like Facebook’s. Users who click the just-launched “Find People” icon at the bottom of the left-hand menu will be directed to a list of suggested contacts with their profile pictures in a grid format. The Next Web If you’re not seeing the suggestions you’re hoping for, Google+ still lets you manually look for people thanks to school and workplace filters. You can also look by using other email accounts. TechCrunch In related Google+ news, President Barack Obama will conduct a Google+ Hangout after the State of the Union, continuing his recent tradition of answering online questions after the speech. Additionally, there will be a PowerPoint-augmented YouTube version of the speech, complete with charts and graphs.

Are Comments a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy or an Underused Resource for Publishers? (paidContent)
There seem to be two competing views of website and blog comments at the moment: By far the most popular one is that reader comments — particularly on traditional media sites — are useless cesspools populated by trolls and hate-mongers who can actually do far more harm than good. The other view is that comments are a potential source not just of high-quality thought or opinion, but of writers who might be worthy of the same profile as a site’s salaried staff, not to mention a potential business model.

Bill Gates Answers Questions About Vaccines, Robots, Steve Jobs on Reddit (VentureBeat)
Monday, at 10:45 a.m. PT, Bill Gates hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit. Topics included humanitarian efforts as chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the open-source movement, and the technology that will change the future.

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan Among Biggest American Philanthropists in 2012 (AllFacebook)
We all know that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest people in America, but he’s also one of the most generous. The Chronicle of Philanthropy announced Monday that Zuckerberg (along with his wife, Priscilla Chan) was the second-biggest American philanthropist in 2012, behind Warren Buffett.

Dead Man Sues Facebook Over, Well, Quite a Lot (CNET)
A patent company called Rembrandt Social Media has decided it holds the patent for, well, liking things online and a few other aspects of Facebook. As the BBC reports, Rembrandt holds patents that it believes contain within them the original and legally binding idea for what seems like much of social networking.

The Biggest Twitter Hits and Misses at the Grammys [Infographic] (LostRemote)
When CBS exec Jack Sussman was asked why the Grammys broadcast is taped-delayed again this year, he said all the chatter on social media gives West Coast viewers “another reason to want to watch.” And it looks like he was right: this year’s Grammy Awards pulled in its second-highest ratings numbers in 20 years — last year’s Whitney Houston tribute still holds the top spot — while generating more than 14 million tweets, according to Twitter.

American Express Cardholders Can Now Tweet to Buy (AllThingsD)
American Express cardholders who link their card to their Twitter account will be able to purchase products, like a new Xbox or a gift card, directly from within the social network. This announcement marks the first time American Express is allowing consumers to buy things through social networks.

Oreo Does it Again with Timely Justin Timberlake Grammy Tweet (PRNewser)
While the Oreo social media team’s visual tweet celebrating Justin Timberlake‘s return to pop music at the Grammy Awards won’t start as many conversations about the future of “real time” PR and marketing, it was just as timely and almost as clever. Did the Oreo team create this little nugget “on the fly” as well?

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