This is the seventh part in a series about the early days of garden blogging, written to commemorate my four years as a garden blogger. For those just joining us, the the names of the respondents to my email questions, and links to their respective blogs, can be found at the end of this entry. Links to previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
7. Does it seem to you that gardeners, as a whole, are late adopters of technology? I mean, look at the categories for the Weblog Awards. Thereâ€™s a category for best craft blog, best food blog, best entertainment blog, best politics blog, best web development blog, etc. The closest gardeners get is best topical blog, which is basically an â€œeverything elseâ€ category. Why do you think this is so? (Or make a case for the oppositeâ€“that theyâ€™re not late adopters.)
- [TG:] “Gardeners are often perceived as retired, blue-haired, technologically-ignorant ladies with nothing better to do. While this does represent a fraction of the gardening population (and 75% of my Master Gardener class), it certainly doesn’t speak for all of us. Maybe someone is assuming we’d rather be outside than blogging…?”
- [PO:] “I think it’s because some of us garden bloggers aren’t gardeners. We’re dilettantes of the dirt who would rather write about it than dig in it. I have a friend whose passion is gardening. So he gardens from sunup until his bones begin to ache. Then he sits back with a frosty, cold one and admires what he has done. He’s also a high-tech guy with a couple of computers, plasma-tv, iPods, and the rest. But after a day in the garden, he would much rather log-on to Myspace, boing-boing, or YouTube. He doesn’t read any of the garden logs, not even mine — and we’re best friends. “
- [EBD:] “I don’t think gardeners are late adopters so much as our interest is more focused and tends to attract the attention only of other gardeners. As for not having a Weblog Awards category, I think the existing categories generally have a broader base than gardening.”
- [DW:] “No, I don’t necessarily think they are late adopters, but perhaps they are simply more interested in gardening, and blogging about gardening, than pursuing awards or playing with technology in general. Despite the fact that technology is my life, I have a host of interests that keep me away from technology. I call it the ‘high-tech/high-touch’ approach to life. For every technological interest I have, I have another that involves no technology at all.
Also, I think that garden bloggers are more interested in their own community interaction instead of worrying about promoting garden blogging as a particular genre. Just like gardening, we are more inclined to simply ‘get on with it’ than discuss how other should be doing it as well.”
- [JZ:] “Many of the ‘early’ adapters to the web log /blogging format, even after the introduction of the Blogger software by Pyra Labs, were computer savvy individuals, many of whom ran software on systems maintained and operated in their own homes. We may be the next generation to them, but we are on the front of the wave of ‘just plain folks’ utilizing software and services in this way.”
- [MSS:] “I don’t think that gardeners are late adopters of blogging but that the original blogging community wasn’t very aware of gardening. The initial community of bloggers tended to be in their 20s or early 30s. Young people tend to live in apartments and spend their free time and money on gadgets, movies, and music. I know I did. I didn’t get a house with a yard until my late 30s. Just as they embraced crafts like knitting, I think they’ll get turned on to gardening. And garden blogs will pique their interest.”
- [PS:] “I imagine that gardeners as a whole are older than the general computing population… less so now than just a few years ago. The earliest adapters were largely young white males (well, except for Admiral Grace Hopper, one of my heroines) with a great interest in computing technology. The early lists, bulletin boards, etc. were all about computing technology. I guess the next people to pick it up were folks in their houses , like crafters. The gardeners were outside, too busy weeding to play with the computer.”
- [IL:] “I think gardeners–at least in their gardening–are ‘do-ers’, and maybe we are slow on the techonological uptake; I was actually opposed to computers in the ’80’s. Oh yeah, a veritable Luddite in my homesteading ways of yore. Is it true of us as a group? Maybe, but our demographic is flocking to the internet, and even if some of us are less exciting for all that we make up for it with real garden experience. but then, there is also something to be said for novice gardening friends and their enthusiasm… and my sour grapes wants to say their beginners luck. Truthfully though, I think that gardening went through a lull and that the coming generation is just starting to find how satisfying it is to plant a garden. And that may be creating a need for more online resources for gardeners. Bloggers are a part of that . . . sort of organically.”
- [KP:] “The gardeners I know ‘in real true life’ (as my children would say) are almost all old enough to be my parent, and while they have learned to use email–to get photos of the grandkids–and perhaps do a little rudimentary surfing, the idea that they could solve some of their gardening problems (such as pest identification) or find a community of gardeners with whom to share their successes never occurs to them. In general, I find people don’t get interested in computers much until it meets a need or solves a problem for them. And I know a lot of very good gardeners who still don’t perceive a computer, more specifically the internet, doing that for them.”
- Tamara Galbraith [TG], formerly of Talking Dirty, now publishing Can You Dig It?
- M. Sinclair Stevens [MSS], longtime publisher of Zanthan Gardens.
- Paul Owoc [PO], observant chronicler of a greenZoo.
- Pam Shorey [PS], originally blogging at Outside in the Garden, and now at Rivermantic.
- Erica Bess Duncan [EBD], writing at GardenSpot.
- Ilona [IL] of Ilona’s Garden Journal.
- Doug Welch [DW], keeping A Gardener’s Notebook.
- Jennifer Zynischer [JZ], aka the Garden Djinn.
- Kathy Purdy [KP], that’s me, the principal contributor to this blog you’re reading.