May I have a moment to rant about social media? Those of you who follow this blog know that Polyface is trialing an idea with Tai Lopez, entrepreneurial guru to millenials. His brand is being worked out, but the working idea right now is Farmers' Box and the plan is to create a multi-product, multi-farm direct sales platform to circumvent supermarkets so the efficiency savings can go to farmers rather than warehouses.
In its discomfiting infant stage, of course, any embryonic entrepreneurial endeavor is rife with land mines. So we're poking around this beast a little at a time. Last week, one of our interns came to us with the revelation that Farmers' Box had posted a picture of me standing with a flock of chickens with the caption: "Joel Salatin doesn't feed any grain to any of his animals."
Nothing could be further from the truth. While it's true that our cattle (herbivores) receive no grain, our omnivores (pigs and chickens) certainly do. Local GMO-free, to be sure, but grain nonetheless. They can't live on grass alone.
After a couple of days in a flurry of sleuthing, we learned that this is a complete imposter. Someone hijacked the appearance of the website, glummed onto it as a "Tai affiliate" and began putting feloniously dishonest things out there.
In fact, it links directly to Tai's talks and gives all appearances of being his site. A couple of years ago we had somebody do the same thing to our Polyface website. And then somebody did the same thing to me, creating social media accounts as if it were me and posting all sorts of crazy stuff. The irony of all this is that these are not enemies trying to sabotage; they are genuine well-meaning millenials who are just so excited and passionate and oh my, this is so cool, like it's awesome, like let's tell the world, OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!
People wonder why I'm such a fuddy duddy that I don't have a smart phone; my brand new flip phone goes 3 days on a charge and works very well--AS A FLIPPIN' PHONE! My takeaway from this latest fiasco is this:
1. Social media has no class. In general, it's a frenzy to barbarism.
2. Half of what you see on the internet is false. It's so hard to verify and so easy to lie, cheat, and steal, it's just not a good source of much of anything.
3. I will continue to embargo my personal access to Facebook, Instagram, Linked-in or any of the other things people are always soliciting "friendship" with me. No, I'll be a caveman first. If that keeps me from being popular, so be it. At least my ideas will be original.
4. Credibility is hard to create and easy to lose--that's always been the case, but the turn-around seems unusually fast these days.
5. Visit the freakin' farm. It's so easy to spout foolishness. The ease of communication is creating a brand new imperative to invest in personal sleuthing. Whatever we gained by networking we're losing by the ease of untruth. So we haven't gained any efficiency; we've just moved our interactions from slow and personal to slow and verifiable.
Is all this what we call progress?