Tag Archive | papal alarm

Picking the pope goes hi-tech

Here at the Daily Item, we’re all fascinated by the hi-tech ways to be notified of the papal conclave’s status.

And there’s several ways to stay informed or get involved, believe it or not:

NEW YORK (AP) — White smoke or black smoke? Maybe it’s easier just to wait for a text message that a new pope has been elected.

A Catholic organization has set up a website, www.popealarm.com, that lets people register to receive a text or email notification when a pope has been selected.

While the process of selecting a new pope is as old as the ages, there are enough changes to the media to make the last papal conclave — in 2005 — seem like ancient history.

The text service was set up by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS, and had proven so popular with more than 40,000 respondents that the popealarm website said Monday it was accepting no new registrants. The site hopes to increase its capacity before the cardinals begin voting, said Jeremy Rivera, spokesman for the Christian campus ministry.

“When the smoke goes up, you’ll know what’s going down” is the website’s motto.

FOCUS paid nearly $10,000 to set up the free service, figuring it was good publicity. Now the group’s leaders are sifting through co-sponsorship offers from other organizations impressed with the amount of online traffic it has generated and hoping for their own exposure, he said.

Another new website, www.adoptacardinal.org, assigns interested people one of the voting cardinals at random to pray for him as he deliberates on a new pope. More than 450,000 people had signed up by Monday.

City editor Bill Bowman is signed up for the texts, while I’m following @papalalarm on Twitter.

I’m not particularly invested in the papal election, there’s just something exciting about the ancient tradition of electing someone who is still seen as a world leader.

Have you signed up for Papal text alerts? Why or why not?