August 12, 2010

So, why don't we pray the Daily Office on something other than Twitter?

The Reverend Joshua W. Hale explains why we use Twitter to pray the Daily Office, how we use Facebook and how to access the Twitterstream without using...Twitter. Read on!

We get this question a lot: why not use other social media platforms to share the blessed rhythm of daily prayer? We especially get asked this relative to Facebook. Why don't we post prayers line-by-line on Facebook? Well, while there are a number of reasons, the major one (to my mind) is that Twitter functions differently than Facebook.

We pray (adapted) prayers from the Daily Office on Twitter by sharing single lines from prayers. Retweets and replies then allow these 140 character-lines to echo around the ecosystem. This approach does not work as well on Facebook because the news feed fights against the string of updates; constantly refreshing the page feels artificial; chats, games and even the Facebook interface distracts from the prayer get the picture.

Facebook is great for interaction among friends through threaded comments and replies. Facebook is great for visual experiences, like our photo albums. Facebook is great for regular updates and event invitations.

But Facebook is not great for line after line after line of prayers. Twitter, on the other hand, might not offer a rich multimedia experience, but is fantastic for serial (aka, asynchronous) sharing. So, we use different platforms – YouTube, Facebook, this blog and yes, Twitter – to extend our ministry of offering the Daily Office by using methods that fit each social media platform.

If you first entered The Virtual Abbey by a gate other than Twitter, I’m sure your experience of our community and prayer life is somewhat different from those who have. We’re working hard to make sure that no matter through which threshold you entered, you can witness and participate in our vibrant ora et labora.

Now, if you want to try out the experience of receiving prayer tweets as if you were on Twitter, here's an option: Fast Follow.

Fast Follow allows you to get text messages on your mobile phone (just in the US right now, unfortunately) from Twitter without signing up for the Twitter service. No picking a user name and logging in — just getting our tweets in text (SMS) form. In practical terms this means you’d get a slew of text messages in the morning and evening (and occasionally at midday), as well as periodic announcements and blog links. Might be the right fit for you. Read more about it (and other text-message features) on Twitter’s official blog.

Want to try it out? Just dial 40404 and text: follow virtual_abbey.

If you haven’t already, meander around our Facebook page (with its interesting notes, posts, and pictures), listen on our YouTube channel, and visit us on Twitter. Please know that we welcome your recommendations and contributions. Feel free to send email to or leave a note at any other portal.

And as always, may the peace of Christ be with you.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Thanks, Josh, for the good word on The Good Word!

Remember, too, that the Abbey has several stations at Pandora:
such as Virtual Chant and Virtual Ambient!

I'd also like to recommend two playlists at YouTube:

Liquid Mind (New Age/Ambient)

Virtual Taize (Meditative Choral Music)

We always welcome comments, suggestions and recommendation at our YouTube page.


Music Director,
The Virtual Abbey