November 12th, 2013
03:49 PM ET

Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) - It's official: Pope Francis is the most talked-about person on the planet.

More folks have been chatting about the popular new pontiff online this year than Edward Snowden, Kate Middleton or even the Internet's favorite bad girl, Miley Cyrus.

That's according to the 14th annual survey from the Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based company that trackers top talkers on the web. The GLM says their rankings are based on an analysis of English-language blogs, social media and 275,000 electronic and online news media.

The GLM broke their research into three categories: top words, top phrases and top names.

Besides being the Internet's top name, the Pope's Twitter handle, @Pontifex, was the fourth most talked about word thus far in 2013.

The top three words were: "404," the numeric code for a broken web-page; "fail," the one-word taunt for all-things unsuccessful; and "Hashtag," the "#" used to denote topics on Twitter.

Paul JJ Payack, president and "Chief Word Analyst" at GLM says the 404 and "fail" got a big boost from the problematic launch of the Obama administration's website for purchasing health care under the Affordable Care Act.

MORE ON CNN: Even atheists love this Pope

The year's top phrases also have a negative vibe: "toxic politics;" "federal shutdown;" and "global warming/climate change" took the top three spots.

Somehow, those phrases still seem more optimistic than last year's most popular phrase: Apocalypse/Armageddon. The End Times fascination probably reflected interest in the failed prophecies of Harold Camping, a doomsday radio preacher who predicted the world would end last year.

Besides the pope, here are the Internet's other most talked-about proper names in 2013:

2. Obamacare

3. The National Security Agency

4. Edward Snowden

5. Kate Middleton

5a. "HRH Georgie,"  the nickname of Prince George of Cambridge, son of Middelton and Prince William

6. The IRS

7. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

8. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

9. The Tea Party

10. The Boston Marathon bombers

MORE ON CNN: Why the Pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Internet • Leaders • Media • Pope Francis

soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. HotAirAce

    So is this Pope-A-Dope still committing criminal acts by sheltering the criminals that covered the pedophile priests? If yes, I don't need to know anything more – he's just another azzhole Babble Humper.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Gol

      All I got from this is that you are ignorant. "If yes.."
      You don't know anything.

      November 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        I'll take that as yes, he is still protecting criminals and likely a criminal himself. Thank You.

        November 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • Jose

          Well on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church let me ask pardon of the 0.8% of the priests that are, and to answer your question let me take you back to when we had Pope John Paul II. If you haven't noticed we are very slow at relaying the information but it was Pope John Paul II who began demanding that before someone is allowed to be a priest they must pass vigorous psychological tests. It was Pope John Paul II to hear about the scandal and get the ball rolling. The came Pope Benedict XVI who started making investigations of all our clergy and in the 8 years he was able to come up with much information. At this point Pope Francis is finishing up the cleaning. Will we ever get rid of all corruptions, of course not I mean even Jesus had to deal with Judas. Thank you and God bless

          November 13, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Has the RCC turned all information about priestly pedophilia over to the relevant civil authorities? No! F'em!!

          November 13, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • Rascal262

      Not only is he still protecting them, he's about to declare one of them a saint.

      November 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  2. abbeyroadkiller

    A Pope that's not completely frozen in the 14th Century? I suppose that qualifies as progress.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Jose

      Ya we started getting those after the 14th century if you actually took the time to read on what Popes have said you would have noticed that, but if you are talking about the teachings, they remain exactly as they were 2000 years ago. Pope Francis hasn't changed any teaching nor will he ever change any teaching. The only thing I've noticed though is that when he says things, everyone who doesn't know Catholic teaching misinterprets it.

      November 13, 2013 at 1:05 am |
      • Rascal262

        That shows how much the non-Catholic world wishes the Vatican would reform. It shows that many non-religious types don't hate religion, just the Church's interpretation and exploitation of it. So much so that they eagerly embrace this Pope and feverishly search for hope in what he says. But you're probably right, it's just the same-old-same-old, and the Church will continue its decline.

        November 15, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  3. Well Duh

    "The GLM says their rankings are based on an analysis of English-language blogs, social media and 275,000 electronic and online news media."

    He may have topped that limited part of the internet, but no way did he out rank p0rn on the the internet as a whole.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  4. tc

    A very positive sign in todays's world! He is a picture of hope in a crummy world and people see that.

    November 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  5. John Stefanyszyn

    Why is Jorge Bergoglio ( "pope Francis") most popular?
    ....Christ, the apostles, the true disciples were rejected, hated, persecuted, and killed.

    Perhaps he is most popular because he embraces and promotes "freedom of rights / freedom of all religions"....a way that defines and dictates that it is RIGHT in man's eyes to be FREE to worship any 'god'.

    BUT it is ONLY Christ that will rule according to and in obedience to the Will of the One and Only Creator and NOT according to man's first love for his "freedom-will".

    November 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Jose

      Why??? Because every time he speaks the media misinterprets what he is saying to make it sound good. If people understood exactly what he was teaching he would loose many fans, but for them to understand you must know Catholic doctrine

      November 13, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  6. You're Almost There

    Ha. Ha. More militant atheists on here than anyone else.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  7. Reality # 2

    Popular? Yes, but still suffering from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in his historically and theologically flawed religion. The cure is easy and available upon written request.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • tc

      I doubt you could verbalize with any intelligence the "theological flaws" of Catholic doctrine unless you are an expert Jewish theologian. If you are not, then you would just be whining why you don't agree with something

      November 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Only for the newbies:

        Let us start with the Infamous Resurrection Con/

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

        To wit;

        From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

        "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
        Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

        Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

        Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

        The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

        Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

        The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

        "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

        The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

        With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

        An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


        "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

        p.168. by Ted Peters:

        Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

        So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        November 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  8. Phillip Bunn

    You mean the Pope beat out Smiley Virus; the adolescent disease?

    November 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  9. jj

    One of the few people in the church that Jesus would have liked.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  10. TomGI

    The pope? You have got to be kidding me.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • hank

      Nope. Not kidding. More popular than any leftist could ever dream of being.

      November 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  11. Douglas

    Thank you Bishop of Rome, Francisco.

    With the example you have set, you have helped countless sinners
    believe again that they can rise up out of the abyss of sin and be
    delivered from a world of flesh and death.

    Thank you Pope Francis. some day you will be a Saint!

    November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bob

      Douglas, the whole saint thing is a scam by the RC organized crime syndicate. As for the abyss/rise up, saving from sin bit, how is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do the job without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      November 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • Atheism is my favorite Religion

        Bob, you're a hate filled jerk-off and a bigot.

        November 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Douglas

          I will say that I sense much more hate in your post than in Bob's.

          November 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Jose

          hey let Bob believe that everything is done magically for no reason to be honest I wish I had the faith of an atheist, since it takes more faith to not believe anything than to believe in God

          November 13, 2013 at 1:15 am |


      November 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  12. What?

    Is the author of this blog sleeping on the switch? The most discussed subject that we hear about lately is all about atheists and LGBT.

    November 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • J

      Not proper names

      November 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Salero21

      LGBT are atheists and idolaters.

      November 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Yeah Sal!! That is one of the many, many consequences of Idolatry.

        November 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • Dallas Jeff

          Obviously you, Sal and His panic are all gay lovers since you three are tag teaming each other.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

    He is a wonderful leader and a great example of what Jesus put in place with St. Peter.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • EX Catholic

      Pants on Fire!!!

      November 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      I wonder what your jesus would think of the current vast wealth of the RNC. And what they did during the crusades, decimating Central America, the spanish inquisition and their silence during the rise of the Nazis.

      I'm guessing he might be a little upset.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Sorry about the RNC typo – meant RCC.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

        We are all human and imperfect creatures. What's amazing is that even after all those terrible deeds, repent and ye shall be forgiven.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • EX Catholic

          Oh really!! So.. your lame excuse for Idolatry is that we are all imperfect humans. What a croc! If that was true all humans would be idolaters. Which is not the case; Right?

          November 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Sal

          I take it that Allah has been good to you. Because you are arguing the same famed thing Muslims do.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • His panic

      I think that he is in a total State of Panic instead of being in the Vatican State.

      Those who really, really Trust in God and in Jesus Christ Gods' Only Son will not Panic.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Lulsauce

        Trust in pancakes, the one and only breakfast meal, and you will not panic. Faith is good, but trusting that something is being willed removes our greatest Biblical right: choice. We should question the intentions of others and the motives of every action. Now, I'm not religious, but please don't mix trust and faith. One could say, sheep trust their shepherd and that's why they are so easily lead to the slaughter, but if it were faith, they'd be lead there knowing its for a good greater then themselves. Which is an entirely difference perspective of the very same action.

        November 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Canuckview

      Well said, his views most closely match those of Jesus– care for the poor and disenfranchised, and question why there is social injustice. He really does have the potential for revolutionizing the Church.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

        Exactly. Something we don't have too much experience with here in America. I am frightened for those in the Phillipenes right now who are struggling without food and water and are frightened and without shelter.

        November 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • EX Catholic

          All the idols, saints, virgins statues and paintings could not help them or spare them all of the trouble right?

          November 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  14. BubblesB

    I'm not Catholic but this Pope is one amazing man. He's down-to-earth, fun, and really wants to be "one of the people". I could almost see converting....

    November 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  15. freeman

    Wow , Sara palin been talkin bout him (Liberal , Commie Pope)

    November 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Ray


      November 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Ken

        Yup, unbelievable as it may be she is saying this.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • Ray

          Typical that Caribou Barbie is talking about things she doesn't know the definition of.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Caribou Barbie thinks Lent is what you find in your dryer filter when it's done.

      November 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  16. EX Catholic

    A clown is a clown and Idolatry is a very grave and serious SIN that carries in and within itself it's own eternal consequences. Consequences like ending-up in the other place that IS NOT Heaven.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

      Are you saying that the Pope is going to hell because of the Catholic faith? Funny, our church was founded in 33 a.d. by the Lord himself. 🙂

      November 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Can you read above 3rd. grade level?

        November 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

          I think so. I have a degree in English.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • EX Catholic

          A grade school degree?

          November 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Salero21

          I think his/her/it degree is in hot air ballooning!!

          November 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • His panic

          Do not be overcome by hysteria and panic because after all, I'm his panic!!

          They are all in a total state of Panic. However those who Trust in God and in Jesus Christ Gods' Only Son will not Panic but have instead Everlasting Life in Heaven.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Or it may be that your conscience is bothering you?

        November 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • Salero21

        Idolatry is much alike atheism and atheism is stupidity in Full bloom in any and all Seasons.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Salero21

          Topher, is that me?

          November 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • EX Catholic

          😀 It seems that current cath. is a stealing, impersonator!!

          November 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • His Panic

          It seems you are a tool. 😀

          November 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • What?

          Well said Salero21.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Patrick Moran

      honk honk!

      November 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  17. Snow

    He may win over the internet and younger generation.. But there is no winning over the iconic All-American Sarah Palin – who is probably now thinking that God has not been really All-American these days and is being too liberal these days.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Jesus was a liberal and would be castigated by the right wing conservatives who call themselves christians.

      Sarah, on the other hand, is a rube with a good marketing team who are milking her for every cent they can get out of her fame.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • Just a Guy

        No way the Lord would be a liberal in today's definition of the word – he wouldn't be a Planned Parenthood supporter as an example. Another would be that His Father's definition of marriage would not be what liberals think it should be. And He would say that the 'holy wars' of years past (eg. – crusades) were not what He wanted. He probably would sell the RCC art and give the proceeds to the poor, and heal and comfort the sick. He would probably also tell a of folks (Rep & Dem) to "go and sin no more".

        November 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
      • Tom in Santa Fe

        "Jesus was a liberal and would be castigated by the right wing conservatives who call themselves christians."

        Actually, Jesus was a Rabbi Jesus who was liberal by todays standard and was castigated by the right wing conservatives of Judaism, where as Christians did not come fully into being until after Jesus died on the cross.

        Frm. Gov. Palin has nothing to do with this article, unless you're trying to drag in just the headline of the CNN Jake Tapper article "Sarah Palin 'taken aback' by Pope Francis's 'liberal' statements." Read the whole article before making off-handed knee-jerk reactionary comments. Specifically, "He's had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me," Palin said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." But "unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media." – She is talking about how the media is affecting his message, not her impression of Pope Francis. And she isn't Catholic – "Palin is a person of faith and describes herself as “born again." She attends a non-denominational church in Alaska."

        So why drag her into this converstaion? Can you not just accept that a humble man who leads the Catholic Church is just as valid a leader of his flock no different that Pres. Obama is to the Democratic party faithful?

        November 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Hi Tom. Reading comprehension, please. Note the comment my reply was to.

          Have a nice day.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Oh also, please don't mix religion and politics. I know for some they are the same, but in a secular country like ours they really shouldn't be.

          FYI – you compared Jesus and Obama. Funny stuff.

          November 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Tom in Santa Fe

          My apologies, you are correct that I was lacking in the comprehension department.

          And I am one to agree on not mixing politics and religion – I am a disestablishmentarian. However, as in a court of law, the opposing council (not you but "Snow") initially opened up the out-of-context can of worms by dragging in Fmr. Gov. Palin, so I felt that it was only fair for me to make a rebuttal in kind.

          Oh, and thank you in seeing my lighter side 🙂

          November 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  18. Gol

    Kind of hard not to like the guy.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  19. CommonSensed

    Most talked about doesn't mean in a good way. The pope may be rocking his cazbah, but some on that list are most talked about for all the wrong reasons.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  20. Josh

    Jesus is the most talked about on planet earth! 🙂

    November 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Bonnie

      Nah, Obama probably gets way more in the news. And even cheesy Mylie Cyrus' doggie position singing gets more views than Jeebus these days. Jesus is long dead history.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Dean

        ROFL, Bonnie. But so true.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • hank

        Could be true, as hated as Obama is around the world, but Jesus is an undeniable force. He brought you to post here and you don't even realize it.

        November 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • kohen

      Pope is probably the most "chatted" name, while Jesus is the most "chanted" Name.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Dean

        Bonnie has it right above.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Ben

          The answer to any cheesy Christian video such as the one Josh just posted.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Josh


        November 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Ben

          Watch, listen, and learn, Josh.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Um, muslims outnumber christians by a large margin and do daily prayer yodeling in which their boys, Mohammed and Allah are featured prominently.

      So, sorry, Charlie – er, Josh.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • hank

        Sorry, your facts are wrong. There are more Christians than Muslims.

        November 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.