Troll + blog + garden center= bad publicity

Do you know what a troll is? No, I am not talking about garden ornaments but rather the Internet type troll. Wikipedia say's, “An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

One of the wonderful things that the Internet is doing is putting the power back into the customers hands. The customer can start a blog and write about their experiences, good and bad. This comes as quite a shock to some nurserypeople, and their first reaction is to strike out at people who are perceived to be unfriendly to the “garden industry”. One person some might perceive to be unfriendly to the “industry” is Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential and a blogger at Garden Rant.

Check out this post at Garden Rant, the accompanying photos, as well as the very first comment. This first commenter is the troll. The comment that “ You write about and criticize the garden industry as though you are some sort of expert. The photos shohw an overgrown mess withvast disorganization along with lack of rythum and and ano design talent whatsoever.” Follow the link for the commenter, parsons wayneright and you are sent to Tropic Al's BBQ Review (I left the link to that site out intentionally). I figured the comment was designed to get you to click the link to see who this was, but instead are directed to a web site hoping for business or higher rankings.

When you leave a comment at most blogs a link to your name is created. This way you can see who wrote the comment. If you want to stay anonymous, that's o.k. No link is created. But when you are mis-lead by a false name it makes you feel "fooled" and not likely to return to that site again. Lost business! The false name at the comment doesn't help in a world where just about everything you do online is just a Google away.

Trolling does nothing but make those of us who fall for it, like me, angry. I have known Amy for a few years now. She does not mince words when discussing the horticulture businesses. So what! How refreshing! The fake name with the re-direct to a BBQ website is why I write this. If you want to speak your mind then sign your name. Amy does.

More horticultural enterprises are becoming involved or trying to become involved in the great discussions going on at garden blogs. There seems to be a mis-understanding as to what a garden blog is. I noticed this with the Stepables promotion that was commented on at Garden Rant a few weeks ago. Read this post entitled How to Talk to a Blogger.

Most garden bloggers are not involved in the media business, they are my customers. Even if they don't shop in my store they shop at some garden center somewhere. Not only are they customers but now they have a voice, and perhaps a following. Why would I want to pick a fight with my customers in a public forum? My customers have their beliefs, some of which I may not agree with. The one thing they all have in common is a love of the garden. That's what I love about my business. I can work with (almost) everyone if they have a interest in gardening.

Just a few years ago Garden Rant didn't exist, nor did Open Register, or Todays Garden Center. Garden Center's that blogged could be counted on one hand. Starting a blog now has never been easier. If you feel you have something to contribute start one today! Look to Open Register and Today's Garden Center for examples of how horticultural media can use blogs to join in. There are also a number of new garden center blogs that are examples of nursery people reaching out. Remember everything you say at a blog is forever. You are the company and what you say will be around a long time.