Pope Benedict XVI set to join Twitter, reports indicate

Pope Benedict XVI signed on to Twitter...No, it's not the beginning of a potentially dirty joke, but a scene that could soon become reality.

According to The Washington Post, the Vatican said Thursday that the Pope will begin tweeting from a personal account as early as this month.

At 85 years old, Benedict is not exactly a stranger to the microblogging service. He sent a tweet last year to help launch the Vatican's news information portal.

"Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," the tweet from the Vatican's English language account, @news_va_en, read in June 2011. It was sent via an Apple iPad.

That one tweet helped the Vatican's account nearly triple its number of followers, gaining about 22,000 new fans.

This time, he is expected to write from behind the curtain of his own account, though. As the Post pointed out, it's likely there will be a ghostwriter somewhere scaling down his handwritten words to 140-character tidbits.

There is no word on what Benedict's username will be, or what nuggets of papal wisdom will show up on his feed, but a Vatican spokesman told the Post that details will be released when the official account is launched.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The site came under fire recently after sending out password reset emails to users on Wednesday following concern over hacked accounts. The service has now admitted that many of those messages were sent to users who were never actually in danger of having their accounts compromised.

But the microblogging service did earn a new badge of honour this week, when the US presidential election was turned into the most-tweeted-about political event in the company's almost seven-year history.