As most Americans do, I have a cellphone and use the Internet and a computer. That means I also have access to social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Recently, on a suburban community Facebook page, a resident posted a question:
“So I’m seeing a ton of farmers say they are getting compensated 1.5 times crops value to destroy them this year. What’s this about are they doing it here too? Does anyone know a farmer and not just know how to use google?” [sic]
The comments flowed in and that’s what they were — comments, opinions.
Some chewed out farmers for doing that. Some said farmers take government handouts, so that was to be expected.
A couple of us posted that is not how farmers do business. One suggested that they may have received crop insurance payments for crops lost.
I reached out on social media to see if any farming friends had heard about this, and those that responded said no. It was later reported in some news outlets that this circulating social media information was false, and that the person who initially posted it was joking.
Are we laughing?
The social media comment went viral as it was supposed to, and made a lot of people share it and tap it forward without thought to its possible damage.
We are currently seeing a lot of social media posts shared about vaccinations and Afghanistan. One can quickly tell which side of the issue someone is on based on their “like” or “share.”
I fall into this group at times when I forward or share posts with whom I agree. I also continue to work at enlarging my “silo.”
The meaning of the word silo was expanded a while ago. It is not just a descriptor of a structure to store animal feed. Business and media also use the word. In business, it is used to describe departments or staff that operate independently, and intentionally do not share information with other departments or staff. With media, people are in a silo when they only watch or subscribe to outlets that support their views.
Only listening to others in your silo tremendously hurts our society, our communities and our kids. It fosters fear of the unknown. And these days, it supports mob behavior online and in public settings.
Rather than looking in and looking alike, I want to look out and see variety. Collectively, we are healthier when we have diversity. It stretches our understanding and broadens our knowledge. It gives us pause to consider the impact of our actions and words.
Here’s a thought: Let’s get out on “pasture.”
A healthy pasture contains multiple species for consumption. Some plants might taste better than others, but all are present to provide diversity for pasture survival. One sees a lot and explores a lot on pasture.
Sounds hokey? OK.
Still, I like the idea of growing, not fermenting.