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. Fish

    I'm basically agnostic but II think the Pope is a good man, human being and a credit to his church!!! The lord asks nothing else than to be yourself and love his creations!!!

    November 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  2. Lee

    Is anything really being "talked about" on the internet?

    Shouldn't it be "most typed out consecutive letters/words in English speaking countries" not "Most talked about person in the world"???

    I mean, way to try to sensationalize nonsense.

    November 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  3. Dana

    Ugh! Don't call it a selfie unless the person in the picutre TOOK the picute!

    November 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • burbanktj

      oh the tragedy

      November 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • TAS


      November 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  4. tony

    The most talked about person off-line is god. The reason why that is not true on-line, is that on-line you can only talk to real people with internet addresses of some kind.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Rascal262

      God's IP address is

      November 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • Fr33th1nk3r is the loopback address for testing that the TCP stack on your NIC was properly constructed. IOW for those who do not know IP– means YOU ARE TALKING TO YOURSELF....

        December 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  5. Sara

    Wow...I wouldn't have thought native English speakers could still be this ethnocentric, but I guess so.

    November 13, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  6. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Being popular doesn't make you right.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • L

      Same thing can be said about any famous atheist.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  7. Agnostickids

    He can't be all that bad…sarah palin thinks he's too liberal. Of course, even writing a sentence with the words – sarah palin THINKS, is ridiculous.

    Why is that woman still in the media? She's the poster child for ridiculous.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Nance

      Is that old hen Catholic? If not, her opinion is irrelevant.

      Agree with your last paragraph.

      November 13, 2013 at 10:44 am |

    We love you Pope Francis and forgive bitter people like saggyroy, the forum POLICE.

    November 13, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Then you have

      People like this in Texas !

      Anti-abortion extremists urge kidnapping of women on way to clinic


      November 13, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  9. L

    If atheists claim to treat all religions equally, why do they treat the popular religions(typically the one they grew up with and left) biased and non-popular religions they don't? "They aren't trying to make their belief laws and force them upon us!" If that was true, where is these "laws" and why isn't it a national law? It's highly delusional that atheists think everyone is out to force them to believe. They are very paranoid, I guess.

    November 13, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Nance

      Kind of like the delusional believers who claim there's a "War on Christians" here in the US, right? They are very paranoid, I guess.

      November 13, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • L

        They want real persecution? They can go to any country that allows murdering Christians(and anyone else that is different). There is no "War on Christians" in the U.S just like there's no "war on atheists". Do it so they have something to live for? Or fight for? I don't know. Both groups are highly annoying with their constant fear of "My rights are being taken away from me!!" but actually aren't.

        November 13, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Nance

          Agree. So what was the purpose of your post?

          November 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • per se

      We are forced to uphold many religious traditions in labour laws, liquor laws, marriage laws, and through tax exemption.

      November 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  10. Lawrence of Arabia

    "It is the bou.nden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is, no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this church on sus.picion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description. Popery is contrary to Christ's Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and for Christ, because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Savior, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Ghost, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors: we shall love their souls though we loath and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray."
    -Charles H. Spurgeon

    November 13, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Archie

      What are your thoughts on the "church of atheism" that have sprung up across the country this past weekend, drawing throngs of mortals to the altars of the "masterful" deceiver?

      November 13, 2013 at 8:21 am |
      • Georgie

        Heard that, the commandments goes something like this:

        Self first

        Neighbor next

        Wonder last

        November 13, 2013 at 8:24 am |
        • Georgie

          So far they have collected 50K out of a target of 800K.

          November 13, 2013 at 8:29 am |
        • per se

          True for some, probably the same percentage as Christians that look after themselves first.

          November 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Lawrence, you need to put aside your prejudice and open your eyes. This pope is not like others weve seen. You can't be of Christ and against him. Look with open eyes and you will see that your closed minded views are mistaken,

      November 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Does this pope attempt to re-sacrifice Christ every time he conducts mass?
        Does this pope deny that the scriptures ALONE give one wisdom to salvation? (sola scriptura)
        Does this pope put tradition as a revalatory source on level ground with scripture?
        Does this pope practice necromancy by praying to saints?
        Does this pope engage in prayers for the dead?
        Does this pope teach that we participate in our salvation by performing works?
        Does this pope teach that sacraments infuse grace?
        Does this pope endorse idolatry by venerating relics and saints?

        November 13, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • Nance

          Aye, the Pope is no true Scotsman. 🙄

          November 13, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Your argument is not valid. To make it valid, there would have to be a docu.ment that outlined what a "true scotsman" actually is.

          There is however a docu.ment that outlines what a true Christian is, and that is the Bible.
          Isaiah 8:20 – "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light."

          November 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Nance

          It 'a totally a valid point when you are comparing religions and you decimating one religion in preference over another.

          I'm not ARGUING anything. Just pointing out that you don't that Catholicism is valid due to your own personal bias.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Nance

          *you don't THINK...

          November 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I don't have a personal bias. I'm simply using the standards of Isaiah in applying the written revelation of God as a litmus test for authenticating a belief system. The Apostles who came later would use the same standard for authentication or rejection of a teacher and his message.

          In applying the Bible as a litmus test, the pope is not a teacher of Biblical Christianity.

          How does a personal bias fit into that? If I look at a chart that tells me how many kips a particular beam size will bear, then the beam will either bear the load or it won't. My desire for it to bear the load makes no impact of whether it will or not. The properties of the beam determine if it will bear the load, and the chart tells me what the correct properties are.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Nance

          I just said they have different methods of teaching. This does not invalidate them. If you think it does, that is bias; call it what you m, but it appears to me to be bias.

          As for the rest of your post, we will now return you to your regularly scheduled red herring.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "I just said they have different methods of teaching. This does not invalidate them."

          Let's look at one issue to see if their "method of teaching" invalidates it.
          Catholics believe that righteousness is INFUSED into the believer. The Bible teaches that righteousness is IMPUTED to the believer. Small difference? Not really. Catholic teaching insists that people get to heaven because they have been made righteous. But the Bible teaches that no one is righteous, but people get to heaven because they have had God's righteousness credited (imputed) to them.

          This seemingly subtle difference is the difference between sound doctrine and heresy.

          The Catholic views of justification clearly do not line up with what the Bible teaches. Is that just a different method of teaching? (implying that it is still good doctrine) No, this difference in teaching is soul condemning. Is it MY bias? Nope, it's determined by an application of the only test for sound doctrine that we have – the Scriptures.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • per se

          Since the Bible is your litmus test, it would be helpful if you let us know which version of the Bible you are using. Since there are many. And why that version is better than say, the Gideon version, or the King James version. Or do you read the original Bible in its original language?

          November 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Nancr

          I guess you glossed over the part where I said that the Catholics teach both the scripture and their interpretation of what the scripture says; maybe I did not make that clear. I didn't use those exact words, so I suppose that's possible.
          In any case, you don't think that's valid, which brings me to my original comment of "no true Scotsman."
          Their view is EVERY BIT AS VALID as yours.
          Their belief system is EVERY BIT AS VALID as yours.

          Although I continue to find your protestations that you are not biased is still vastly amusing.

          Actually, I don't care one way or another; you chances of getting into Heaven are the same as every other person's who believe theirs is The One True Way.

          November 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  11. Lawrence of Arabia

    "All things which the Pope from a power so false, mischievous, blasphemous and arrogant has done and undertaken have been and still are purely diabolical affairs and transactions for the ruin of the entire holy Christian church and for the destruction of the first and chief article concerning the redemption made through Jesus Christ… The Pope is the very Antichrist who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved… It is nothing else than the devil himself because above and against God he urges and disseminates his Papal falsehoods concerning Masses, Purgatory, the monastic life, one's own works, fict.itious divine worship which is the very Papacy and condemns, murders and tortures all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations of the Pope above all things, therefore just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle the Pope. For to lie and to kill and destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his Papal government really consists."

    Martin Luther

    November 13, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • Nance

      You quoting Spurgeon and Luther following a complaint about sola scriptura amuses me.

      November 13, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Why is that? Both Spurgeon and Luther taught that revelation is found only within the Bible.

        November 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Nance

          And the Catholic Church believes that using the Bible and the writings contained in the sola scriptura is the path. So?

          November 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I don't think you know what sola scriptura is... It's the doctrine that scripture alone is the sole source of revelation from God.

          Catholics deny that so that they may permit their traditions to carry the same revalatory weight as scripture. Jesus was pretty clear on this... If traditions are in contradiction to scripture (and many Catholic traditions are), then the traditions must be scrapped, or those who propogate them are propogating false doctrine, and are cursed.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Mary

          Nance, I don't blame you for not listening to a Heretic. He blasphemes.

          November 13, 2013 at 6:54 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.