Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Does it Mean When the Plants Start Twittering?

# Thank you for watering me!2:42 PM Mar 30th from web

# URGENT! Water me!2:06 AM Mar 27th from web

# Water me please.12:40 PM Mar 25th from web

These are actual tweets from Pothos. Pothos is a plant. That's right, a plant. As of this posting, Pothos has 3,139 followers on the increasingly-popular social media site, Twitter.

How does Pothos tweet? According to the Huffington Post,
Botanicalls, a device that sends wireless signals to Twitter. It's made of soil moisture sensors that transmit information (too much moisture? too little?) through a circuit board to a microcontroller, just like a mini-computer.
Granted, this is kind of neat, but why am I posting about this here? Well, quite simply, because I am of two minds about this.

First, if using Twitter is so simple a *plant* can use it (think of those old Castro Convertibles commercials for the sofa beds so easy a child can do it), then clearly non-profits can get with the program and start tweeting.

But on the other hand, as Neatorama puts it, "Twitter is all the rage these days, sure, but plants Twittering? Has this fad gone too far?" Should non-profits being trying to make serious use of Twitter as a social networking tool if it is being trivialized to the point of being used by plants?

Or is this just indicative of a growing concern in the business world--the mixing of the professional with the personal? Are the lines between the two blurring--and should they be? Are thee benefits to the new fuzziness that is ensuing from professional networks in online spaces designed for socializing, such as Facebook and Twitter?

Jason Dick blogging over at A Small Change raises this valid point:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told not to mix personal with professional. But that is exactly what we ask our volunteers and board members to do all of the time. How many of your top supporters ask their co-workers and business associates to partner with you?

Where do you feel the line should be? How do you maintain it in your own life and online personae and interactions? Does Pothos invalidate the use of Twitter for serious purposes?

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