Pope Francis hugs a man with neurofibromatosis in Saint Peter's Square at the end of his General Audience in Vatican City, November 6, 2013.
The dust has cleared, the gloves are off, and it's official: Pope Francis won the Internet
this year. Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based company that tracks the most frequently mentioned terms on the Web, announced that the pontiff topped their 14th-annual survey of English-language blogs, social media, and 275,000 electronic and online news sites.
beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden, real-life Disney princess – and also the Duchess of Cambridge – Kate Middleton
, and even Miley Cyrus, who practically was
the entire Internet for a post-VMA minute.
The Pope's Twitter handle, @Pontifex, was the fourth most-talked about word in 2013 so far. Given that the most-talked about words were "403" (the numeric code for a broken page on the Internet), "fail" (the Internet's go-to slang-taunt for anything that doesn't work), and "hashtag," (or "#," which aggregates topics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), that's a pretty serious victory.
Whether it's his proficiency with selfies,
his remarkably candid takes on celibacy, gay marriage and atheism, or just the super-cool Pope-like
stuff he's been doing, Francis is clearly deserving of the imaginary award we just made up called The 2013 Internet Medal of Honor. Take a bow, Francis – you earned this.