I was one of several garden bloggers inteviewed by Doug Green for an article on garden blogging for The American Gardener, which is published by the American Horticultural Society. I thought the article was a good overview for beginners on the topic, not going too deeply into the technology behind blogging but maintaining accuracy.
Really, you shouldn’t need to know any more about how blogging works in order to blog, than you need to know how a car works in order to drive it. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, though I’m trying to do my part.
Gardeners appear to be slower than other groups to investigate and adopt new online technologies. Stu’s tutorial on online tools for gardeners sparked some dialogue between Debra Roby, Amy Stewart, and their various commenters.
Getting Older Gardeners to Blog
I’d especially like to know what would make blogging more appealing to older gardeners. (Older meaning old enough to be my parent, and I’m almost fifty.) They have a wealth of experience to share, but are the least likely to share it online. Looking at my own parents, I can see many reasons why.
- Limited time. We all struggle to find time to garden. Then we struggle to find time to write about it. For many of our elders, it takes more time to do everything: dressing, eating, walking–you name it. And then they have medical conditions that take up additional time to manage, as well as possibly slowing them down. And with mortality staring them in the face, time becomes a precious resource, not to be squandered. So before anything else, an older gardener has to be convinced that using the computer is worth her time.
- Physical obstacles. Let’s face it, it takes a certain amount of geekiness to figure out how to change the text size for your monitor or browser, and many novice computer users don’t even know it can be changed. Joint pain can make using a keyboard, mouse, or trackball uncomfortable or even painful, and your local discount store isn’t likely to carry specialized alternatives. And if such devices can be found, they are often more expensive than standard replacements. Faced with these kinds of hurdles, is it any wonder many older people decide it’s not worth it?
- Lack of familiarity. I have often found information for my mother that she couldn’t find for herself. Usually it hadn’t even occurred to her to search online (though this is getting less frequent). If it doesn’t even occur to you that you could keep an online gardening journal or ask questions of other gardeners, you’re not going to try.
I got started thinking about this when I realized that Eleanor Perenyi, author of Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden was still alive. What would it take to get her to start blogging, or even commenting on other gardener’s blogs?