When black smoke billowed out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday evening Vatican time, the world understood the news: No new Pope.
But thanks to technologies less storied, but far more savvy than the church’s centuries-old smoke signals, Vatican-watchers have plenty of options to keep their finger on the pulse - and plenty of ways to be notified once the white smoke billows out, signaling a new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Here are some of our favorites:
- @PapelSmokeStack: The Twitter account named in honor of, and purportedly representing the most famous chimney in the world, has nearly 5,000 followers and tweets the news from on high: “Overcast/rainy conditions next 3 days will pose problems for deciphering the black and white. Will do my best to be clear!#chimneyprobz.”
- It’s rival, @ConclaveChimney, is also gaining steam, with wisecracks to pass the time while Cardinals assemble in prayer and voting. (“luckily the waiting game IS my favorite game,” reads one tweet.)
- Not to be outdone, @ConclaveStove sprung up on Twitter, claiming to be “stove they use to burn ballots, “far superior to that no-good, talentless, fame-seeking @conclavechimney.”
- Stuck at your desk with no TV in sight? Try hitting refresh on this website: isthereapope.com (Go on, give it a try).
- And if you’re worried about sleeping through those 5:30 a.m. EST ballot tallies, there’s PopeAlarm.com: Enter your email or phone number to be notified with a message to your inbox or text before “Habemus Papem” is called.