A bit of offtopicness on gardening, life, blogging and social. 

As a techy blogger who’s twitter account merely retweets these blog posts, I use twitter to lurk and follow other people.  And many times they are an odd mixture of folks.  British gardening folks combined with Security researchers are the folks on my twitter stalking list.  I “stalk” people on twitter because I merely use an RSS feed to follow their tweets rather than actually following them on twitter.  Yes I know this is probably cheating them out of knowing they have another closet follower, but it’s just how I consume their opinions. And sometimes tweets are that… opinions.

So in the November edition of the BBC magazine gardeners’ world, the show’s presenter Monty Don indicated that social media is everywhere, but not in the lives of gardeners.  “In short we gardeners seem to be largely uninterested in social media” he said.  “The immediate response seem to be that we are older than most social media users”

In the responses on the web (oh yeah folks that apparently do use social media) the reaction was a lot of “eh?”  and Oh really?  And not shortly after @TheMontyDon apparently got in the middle of a social fight over badger culling and quit twitter.

What social brings out a side in people that isn’t there in personal conversations.  I’m not saying this is right, but it is what it currently is.  People can attack your opinions because the words typed by a keyboard do not feel to be as harsh as when they are uttered to the human in person. At times social media is LESS social than other forums of communication because of this disconnect.  And the forced upon connections “Friend me” when you are an aquaintance and not a true friend are artificial and pressed upon us by a Harvard college kid riding the wave of the latest new thing. 

Some of you that are my “friends” on Facebook are truly just acquaintences and not really my friends.  And I don’t mean that to sound rude or mean to anyone, but just the reality of our relationships.  You tolerate my rants and opinions because of the nuggets of tech information I throw out here.  But to call people “friends” just because you associate with them on a web page, I think is abusing the feelings and intent behind the word and taking away from the word the affection that it truly is meant to have.  Let’s face it some of us are “friends” in that we just watch your posts and watch what you do.  Okay, so yes, I’m a lurker and a borderline stalker.  I’m definitely interested in what you do and say, but I think we’d all agree that to say all of those people we know on Facebook are “friends” of ours is devaluing the meaning of the word friend. 

The one thing social does do well is bring people together across vast distances.  Social media is the equivalent of a “pub where everyone has an opinion and no real knowledge” as you so aptly put but it’s in a location that has no geographic boundaries.  If we can type in the same language (not even speak, but merely read) then we can communicate.

So to Mr. Don, sorry that your twitter experience has been less than satisfactory lately.  But social is messy and when you have an opinion, and we all do, sometimes you just have put on a few bandaids and just be opinionated.  It’s why us lurkers read your tweets.  You’d not be half as interesting otherwise.

Come back to twitter Mr. Don.  I’m missing your opinions. 


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