Sunday thoughts

Whew. Back home from Scotland, last of the bags that got lost in Heathrow just been delivered and feeling a bit drained…

In the 10 May edition of NewScientist, Alice Marwick wrote an interesting opinion piece that caught my eye titled “Plus ça change: social media’s broken promise”. 


In the article she describes the transformation of Web 2.0, that was initially heralded as a radical game changer that would encourage transparency, activism and creative pursuits to what it has become today where it re-inscribes a limited view of success and a narrow range of acceptable behavior, sentiments I would, at least to a degree, agree with.

In her article she writes:

“Those who weren’t company founders, but wanted broad visibility, used social media to strategically create personas that might appeal to wide audiences, using Twitter to promote themselves and position friends and acquaintances as “fans”. (…) One of the strategies I observed in San Francisco is known as micro-celebrity. Micro-celebrities use social media’s immediacy to promote carefully designed images of themselves. They think of their audiences as fans (rather than friends or family) and share personal information and intimate moments to create emotional bonds with viewers.”

In the past treemagineers has had very little social media presence – don’t expect this to change any time soon.

This was a deliberate choice on our part. We remain convinced that to ensure high-quality social interaction and a sense of authenticity, face to face meetings  are indispensable. In virtuality you loose all sorts of important aspects, such as body language, nuances in spoken language or the whole tactile dimension of human interaction. Yet despite this, people fairly regularly say things to me down the lines of: “You must be on the road almost all the time”. The answer to this question is “No”. Or at least not most of the time.

So, obviously, despite trying to ensure genuine interaction, there is still a degree of projection going on as to what we actually do, so I suppose the point I am trying to get across, is that if distortions occur face to face, how can this be avoided in virtuality? In my opinion, probably not… and, as Alice Marwick writes, in some cases, this ambiguity may even be deliberate and wanted.

All three of us, Beddes, Chris and myself spend the majority of our time doing tree work. For me this means working locally, within a 20km radius, in our tree care co-op, which for me is an essential, core part of my professional life. I enjoy working with my friends in the company, spending time around my family and just climbing, doing tree work –  I marvel, time and again, at how it is just the most fulfilling thing I can imagine doing to earn a living.

I know that Beddes and Chris feel much the same.

Team Baumpartner/ Arbres et Partenaires

Having said that, I believe there is also an element of balance involved. I organise my year into blocks of work, i.e. I will do a block of treemagineers-related activities, such as the past three months, then plan a couple of months here at home, working in the company or doing the odd day of training here or there – and then switch round again.

I find that this kind of balance and diversity lets me look forwards to all the different facets of the actives I am involved in and lets me start into the next block with a sense of fresh appreciation for what I am doing and a renewed motivation to do it well.