Church of England has a Twitter moment as new archbishop of Canterbury announced via Twitter

New Archbishop of Canterbury Announced via TwitterWe had another Twitter moment this morning or rather the Church of England did as it and Number 10 used Twitter to jointly announce the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. It’s a big moment in British life and the fact that Downing Street and the C of E turned to Twitter seems fairly significant as it tweeted: “Downing Street is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury”.

Looking back ten years when the last Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was appointed there was no Twitter. No social media. In the intervening years there has been a communications revolution and some actual revolutions that used Twitter and other social sites and tools to organise and overthrow governments.

So in that sense it is perfectly right that they turn to Twitter. What will be interesting to see is if the Church of England continues to extend its use of social media and uses it more readily in the future.

The Church of England has only 17,964 Twitter followers as of this morning. As Twitter flocks go that is a little paltry. It could do with extending its reach.

With the official announcement being made by @Number10Gov, the official Twitter account of the office of the Prime Minister, the Twitter accounts of @C_of_E and @LambethPalace are live-Tweeting updates from their press conference, which started at 11am.

The church has also designated an official hashtag (#NewABC) so that Twitter users can join the conversation.

Reverend Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England, said: “When we announced the last appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury ten years ago, Twitter didn’t even exist. Now in 2012, it is giving people all over the world the chance to connect with their faiths in exciting and inspiring ways.

“We’re delighted to be using Twitter to share the news of the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

“By embracing digital communications tools such as Twitter we hope to bring Anglican congregations around the globe closer than ever to their spiritual leaders.”