Social Media Matters: Twitter account seeks fake prayers

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Feb. 24, 2012
Metro section

Twitter account seeks fake prayers

On Facebook earlier this week, one of my online friends who happens to be a United Church minister posted a link to @UnvirtuousAbbey, a Twitter account that posts fake prayers based on song lyrics and those with first world problems.

The account’s biography describes @UnvirtuousAbbey as: ‘Holier than thou, but not by much. Digital monks praying for people with first world problems. From our keyboard to God’s ears.’

Unvirtuous Abbey

According to, ‘first world problems’ are: ‘Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.’ A couple of examples: 1) The price of caviar has gone up so high that I can only afford it six nights per week instead of seven; 2) I had to pay $100 to fill up my gold-plated Cadillac Escalade the other day. Isn’t the price of gas crazy?

@UnvirtuousAbbey makes a mockery of these problems and of song lyrics, too, by posting and retweeting sincere-sounding prayers that are actually sarcastic beyond belief, not to mention ridiculous and hilarious.

Earlier this week, the account called for followers to submit fake prayers based on lyrics of 1980s songs under the hashtag #80sPrayer. Here are a few samples: 1) From @KatFrench – ‘For Tommy, who used to work on the dock, whose union’s been on strike & is down on his luck, we pray.’; 2) @TheGreat-Askini – ‘For those who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another, o Lord, deliver us.’; 3) And here’s the one I submitted from my account, @BrianCormier – ‘For those who live in a land down under and who meet strange ladies who make them nervous, we pray.’

The goal, of course, when posting tweets, was to get @UnvirtuousAbbey to retweet you. The #80sPrayer hashtag was so popular that it ended up trending on Twitter. So many entertaining tweets!

It was a hoot to read.

Some of the ‘first world problem’ non-prayers posted by the account include: 1) For those who quote themselves, Lord have mercy.; 2) Lord, you who turned water into wine, we pray for those who turn their student loans into alcohol. Amen.; 3) For those who put winter coats on their dogs as they walk by and ignore the homeless, we pray to the Lord.

If you’re on Twitter, do yourself a huge favour and start following @UnvirtuousAbbey. It’s quickly become one of my favourite Twitter accounts and I just found out about it a few days ago – ironically, on Facebook! There’s definitely a book to be made out of those tweets, as well. Funny stuff ! Just remember, though, it’s all in fun and sarcasm.

If you can’t joke around about religion, this is definitely not the place for you as you’ll most likely end up being offended.

Facebook users who have passed away

If you have a friend or loved one who has passed away and who also had a Facebook account, did you know that you could let Facebook know about it officially so that the account could be memorialized?

In Facebook’s help section, there’s an online form called Report a Deceased Person’s Profile. If you’re thinking of pulling a prank on someone, though, think twice.

Facebook also requires a link to an official (and needless to say, legitimate) obituary.

According to Facebook, ‘When a user passes away, we memorialize their account to protect their privacy. Memorializing an account sets the account privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile (timeline) or locate it in search. Friends and family can leave posts in remembrance. Memorializing an account also prevents anyone from logging into the account.’

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current as of Feb. 21.

1) Ilana Cohn of TheFunClub (13,142 subscribers): I love discovering new comedy YouTube channels. This one is the home of Los Angeles-based actress and comedian Ilana Cohn, who’s created 50 videos to tickle your funny bone, including commercial parodies. She can also be followed on Twitter at@ilanainla. (Most popular video: ‘Gina’s House’ – 150,615 views.)

2) Chapters/Indigo (418 subscribers): This channel is chock full of videos (more than 170, to be exact) mostly featuring footage of authors signing books and their talks to those gathered for book-signings. If you’re a fan of the Kobo e-reader, you’ll also find several Kobo-related videos, as well. (Most popular video: ‘Kobotorial: What is an eReader and why should I get one?’ – 105,742 views.)

3) Martell Home Builders (24 subscribers): Martell Home Builders has built up a great reputation as a company that ‘gets’ social media and how it can help them engage with clients and potential clients. The company’s YouTube channel currently has 80 videos ranging from interviews with exhibitors at the Moncton Home Show to a tutorial on how to clean your air exchange filter. If you’re thinking of buying or building a home in the Metro Moncton area, this is a good place to start doing some research. (Most popular video: ‘Martell Home Builders – Our Approach’ – 4,778 views.)

One Response to Social Media Matters: Twitter account seeks fake prayers

  1. Hi Brian. It’s nice to see one of my favorite FB communities written up based on their popularity and wit. However, I think you may be mistaken in stating the prayers are fake. I’ve always been under the impression they were real. Though many of the problems addressed may be ‘first world’, for those living through them, they are still troubling, and isn’t that what drives most people to their knees in the first place? I can’t even agree that a mockery is being made. Tommy no longer has a job. Isn’t the Abbey lifting up a prayer for all the Tommy’s who have lost their jobs as a result of the economic fiasco the has befallen us? And who among us hasn’t felt the sting and consequences of gossip? Some troubles are universal and unfortunately, we will always have them with us.

    That the prayers are often cloaked in 80’s pop song lyrics may have more to do with the idea of reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously or, perhaps, too righteously. Perhaps a prayer doesn’t have to be lofty or extended in order to be heard. Perhaps laughter really is good! At least that’s how the monks mission statement reads to me.

    When I read the writing on the walls of the Unvirtuous Abbey, I am reminded of something CS Lewis wrote about the truth being the truth, “whether from the lips of Jesus or the mouth of Balaam”.

    Anyway, I just wanted to respond. Thanks for letting me. I leave you with my submission to the Abbey’s call to prayer using 80’s lyrics. (Shhh, I think this was recorded in ’79 but it’s Elvis Costello and he was ahead of his time anyway!)

    For those who walk through this wicked world searching for light in the darkness of insanity, we pray they lose not hope as they look for sweet harmony and wonder what exactly is so funny about peace, love, and understanding.