Gardeners World, social media and a #shoutyhalfhour

This is an expand version of comments I made over on The Physic Blog regarding Gardeners World and the Twitter hashtag  #shoutyhalfhour.

There has been a lot of criticism recently of Gardeners World generally and specifically an article that Monty Don wrote in the GW magazine regarding gardeners and social media.

As The Physic Blog wrote:

Primarily, as it appears to me, Monty is not comfortable with social media per se. He says that the sound of silence is the best sound of all, which may be true for him, but certainly is not for many, including often me. He also says that he thinks the reason there are few Twitter gardeners are that most gardeners fall into the over 50 age bracket and so are not comfortable with computers, a point that has very beautifully been written about by Sue Beasley at www.lodgelanenursery.blogspot.co.uk. But mainly the piece is not one which might make you join Twitter and certainly doesn’t tell of the amazing gardening community that is there.

GW is a bit like TOTPs in the 80s. You watched hoping for The Smiths or New Order, but mostly got Chris de Burgh.

It IS difficult for one gardening programme to cover all levels of experience and interests. However Beechgrove for example does it so much better. It regularly gets involved in community projects, ‘problem areas’ of viewers etc etc. there is a good rapport between the various presenters, and the things they do look like something you could achieve.

One alternative is the wealth of information available online – though as I’m 60 years old I clearly shouldn’t be playing with this dangerous technology.Twitter, blogs, message boards, podcasts, have been a huge help to me, returning to gardening after about a 20 year hiatus.

There are also independent video producers out there on the internet. I like Sean’s Allotment weekly video, which is a good mix of practical and inspirational, and his allotment always looks a bit messy, which gives me heart!

Mark Abbott-Compton’s videos and newsletter are also a great resource.

So where can GW go? I think it needs to rethink who it’s audience could be. Look carefully at what works for Beechgrove and online video gardening programmes, and get outside of Longmeadow with some new presenters.

That would be a reasonable start.

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