The dramatic contrast between the images below illustrates just how much technology has improved in the last eight years.

The first picture is from Pope Benedict XVI’s election in 2005 and the second is from the election of Pope Francis last year.  The images show how technology has transformed our lives and allowed us to capture big moments with phones and tablets. These images of Pope Francis were shared with the world via social networks, showing the Catholic church that it needed to move with the times whether it liked it or not.

The church hasn’t traditionally used the Internet to communicate, but it has now embraced social media in order to reach a wider global audience. Pope Francis stated that the Internet is “a gift from God” and believes that we can use social media to reach out to our neighbours.  Through his own Twitter account, Pope Francis can speak to over 4 million followers and also have his voice heard by a wider audience. Twitter has made it easier for the Pope to engage with younger generations and people of different religions, and has helped make the church more modern and accessible.

According to a study released last November by The Global Language Monitor (GLM), Pope Francis was the most talked about person online in 2013. Images and videos of Pope Francis embracing a severely disfigured man have been shared by thousands on social networks, an example that shows how stories spread in the modern world.

The Pope has shown that Twitter isn’t just for updates on friends and celebrities – it can also give people an active voice in the world’s media. Pope Francis has connected with individuals from different generations and religions whilst maintaining his appearance in the public eye. And if one of the oldest establishments in the world can embrace social media, there’s certainly hope for the rest of us.