Seeing pope in US? Pics, tweets and streaming video

Published 9:50 am Friday, September 11, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis’ personality is more joyful than grumpy cat, his vestments undeniably white and gold — not blue or black — and you’ll never hear him say OMG or ermahgerd.

The 78-year-old pontiff isn’t your typical social media star. He doesn’t even carry a cellphone. But wherever Pope Francis goes, millions of tweets, posts, pictures and video streams are sure to follow.

Two weeks after spurring a viral frenzy with a trip to a Rome eyeglass shop to get new lenses, the wildly popular Francis is embarking on his first journey to the greatest fishbowl of all: America.

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Social media platforms and wireless carriers anticipate activity related to his Sept. 22-27 visit to rival the Super Bowl — there’s even a ban on drones and selfie sticks.

Wireless carriers are using the big game as a guide as they add capacity near the pope’s stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

They’re trucking in portable cell towers and adding permanent antennas atop street lights on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where a closing Mass is expected to draw more than 1 million people. Comcast, the hometown cable giant, is offering free Wi-Fi to ease the data strain.

Before that, Francis will meet with President Barack Obama and address Congress. He’ll also address the U.N. General Assembly and visit the Sept. 11 memorial in New York.