I frustrate my sister and our mutual friends by my stubborn refusal to join Facebook - though I hear they have a separate section where you can create non-personal Facebook pages for blogs.
I'm still not joining "the Facebook," but I admit that I'm missing out on the latest farming craze. Virtual farming.
Atlantic food writer Dave Thier blogs about Farmville, the most popular game on Facebook and the engine through which Facebookers test the waters (er, mulch?) of the strange new trend of virtual farming. He also discusses how different Facebookers express themselves through both the designs and contents of their gardens - that is, how their gardens are arranged and what they plant in them. Thier, unlike myself, is a steadfast New England Yankee farmer, having been a part of the Yale Sustainable Food Project, so he knows a few things about farming. So he must have a pretty unique insight into virtual farming trends, and how closely it parallels real farming. For one, you have to pay real - or virtual - money if you want to go far with it. Sounds a wee bit like SecondLife. From the article:
When you log into the game, Farmville shows you a random picture of one idyllic farm or another--a bountiful field of pineapples, flowers, and wheat next to a little cottage, maybe, or perhaps an autumn scene of maple syrup and bright red trees. The reality, however, is that in order to afford such decorations you must either pay US dollars or plant endless fields of cash crops. Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but for a simplistic videogame, Farmville offers a curious model for juxtaposing pastoral fantasy with the industrial realities of modern farming.A fun game, created by the people who brought us The Sims 1, 2 and 3, but with a price? At least it teaches a little about the ins and outs of farming, including cash cropping.