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. Esilef

    Pope Francis = Pope Awesome The First

    November 13, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Awesome? Not really as Francis suffers 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 13, 2013 at 7:02 am |
      • Anthony Maes

        Give it a break, no matter who he is if he is doing good, thats great. You are more than welcome to go back to you dark lonely conner..

        November 13, 2013 at 8:00 am |
        • Reality # 2

          As requested (sent from my very bright corner of the world):

          Saving Christians from 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 13, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Nance

          Nobody requested it. If you take what Anthony wrote as a request, then do what he requested an go back to your dark, lonely corner.

          November 13, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Added comments from my bright corner of the world:

          Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

          • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

          • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

          • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

          • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

          • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

          • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

          Added details available upon written request.

          A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

          e.g. Taoism

          "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

          Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

          November 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • per se

          By spreading ignorance, he is in no way doing a good job. The second you start telling lies and telling others how to live based on those lies, you are a terrible person.

          November 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    the new pope seems like a nice guy.
    he said nice, if ambiguous things about g.ays
    he also said women are not good enough to be leaders in the church (can't be priests)
    he said child molesters won't be tolerated

    the new pope seems nice, but he's done zero to affect actual change in church doctrine. he has the power to change the rules and has chosen not to do so. words are nice - actions are what count.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • Science Works

      But his last reported statement on contraceptives to American Bishops is using contraceptives is a SIN.

      No change like you said Booty.

      November 13, 2013 at 5:57 am |
  3. Bee

    definitely the coolest pope yet.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • saggyroy

      "If you have ever been to high school, I don't have to tell you what popular means" – Carl Sagan

      November 13, 2013 at 6:00 am |
  4. suri

    Pope having fun! all kinds 😉

    November 13, 2013 at 1:48 am |
  5. Bil

    Im Muslim, but looking at Christendom and its holiest figure i feel a warm and fuzzy inside, this is what being human is all about. May this Pope be a blessing for all mankind

    November 13, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • saggyroy

      So the Pope won't go to Muslim hell for reject Mohammed?

      November 13, 2013 at 5:59 am |
      • americannation

        saggyroy you are just envious and bitter because the pope is so popular and loved by some many people in the world. Don't waste your time policing every nice comment about the pope that people makes..

        November 13, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  6. Delta

    I'm not religous in any way/shape/form, but I LIKE this Pope. Not only does he show a level of humanity and humility that has been missing from previous pontiffs, he has a good sense of humore too. Lets hope his brand of faith inspires others to behave as he does. The entire world would benefit from it, regardless their religion or lack thereof. Cheers!

    November 13, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • saggyroy

      Along with a new pope they got a new marketing strategy. Think about. First the cute kid video, then the disfigured guy. Sales are up, and everyone will get a Christmas bonus!

      November 13, 2013 at 5:44 am |
  7. Jose

    Oh my gosh I love this...non-Catholics who have no idea what is going on, besides what the media tells them is going on, commenting whether what's going on is good or not. Apparently Pope Francis is progressive because he is acting upon what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was teaching about the whole time. Bravo for getting the popes confused especially the ones who also get history incorrect. You guys are the best you serve as our laughter just seeing how wrong you get everything but say it with so much confidence it's adorable. God bless you all and hopefully this will help you to actually do some research on the Catholic Church before making claims. I invite you all to question the Church, but not like Pontious Pilate, but actually search an answer and not from someone who has the same ideals as you or else you just end up with a biased answer.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • saggyroy

      Not just non-Catholics, but ex-Catholics such as myself. But this is old news: most atheists probably know more about your religion than you think. In my case, I studied the Catholicism I inherited from my parents, and their parents with a great and sincere faith, and after studying realized what a load of contradictions, loopholes, exclusivity(?) religions (any) represent. Studying the faith brought me to atheism.

      November 13, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  8. tallulah13

    I'm sorry. Cats have won the internet and they aren't giving it up to some stinking Pope.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • saggyroy

      Yeah but Cats are still fighting the war on string, which has become their own Viet Nam.

      November 13, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  9. It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

    Is anybody else puzzled by the Francis suck-fest lately? Don't get me wrong, as popes go, he's pretty decent but let's face it, he hasn't cured cancer.

    November 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Or even turned over the criminals he's protecting. That would be much easier than curing cancer.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    Everybody else gets it.

    Big picture; trees forest and all that but with the right keys in the pocket.

    A scented candle a call a text a smile a frown.

    The unhappiness may come from the genitalia or from the past; all must exit.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Nance

      *Finger snaps*

      November 12, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    People who claim to know all about such things say that this unusually nice pope is the most evil friend of Satan that's ever been about. Should we be scared?

    November 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Opie L.

      Maybe not, maybe the rest of Satan's friends are even nicer than this pope is. It could be a win win situation, that's the thing about invisible people you just never know.

      November 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  12. Apple Bush

    It is cracked and all of joy and reality is being sucked into the earth like a black hole unwilling to release any happiness back to Earth and each person in reviewing their lives and religion now face the abyss completely naked and alone. Stolen and attacked by their own homes and returned to nothing.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:12 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.