Danielle Smith Ernest, one-half of the social media team that handles the Proven Winners account on Twitter, is posting about how nice it was to attend the GWA convention in Indiana this past week. She quotes a tweet that reads "I'll be publicly boycotting any companies that participate in #GWA12" and expresses being torn about what to do for 2012.
Shirley Bovshow chimes in with: "Yes mr Brown Thumb and I were discussing #gwa2012 and he mentioned the boycott of garden products who sponsor it. Follow the teeets [SIC] between #edenmaker and him @gardenbloggers"
It should be pointed out that in my Twitter discussion with Shirley Bovshow at NO TIME DID I EVER MENTION A BOYCOTT OF GARDEN PRODUCTS who sponsor the GWA convention in Arizona. Not Once. Here's the screen grab of my exchange with Shirley Bovshow:
Do you see any mention of boycotting garden products sponsoring GWA or any mention of garden products at all?
After reading her comment on the secret Facebook group for garden writers I asked her on Twitter to show me where I mentioned that people should boycott vendors/sponsors of the GWA. She replies with "That's unfortunate. I've been avoiding everything AZ since last year. I may have to add garden brands to my list. :("
This quote comes from a tweet I exchanged with @CobraHead, not with Shirley Bovshow, and here it is in full.
This tweet of mine is apparently me calling for a boycott of garden products and the GWA. To see the stream of tweets for yourself you can read the Tweets at @GardenBloggers.
It doesn't matter what I actually said because Shirley's post, where she puts words in my mouth, set of a hilarious chain of comments all centering about what a horrible person I am in general and how horrible I am for calling for a boycott of the GWA and sponsors.
Here Mary Ann Newcomer goes on an epic rant against me. Anegla Treadwell-Palmer, of Plants Nouveau, says that it is a "nasty thing" for me to say in reference to the mention of a boycott. Even though I never made the tweet that Danielle quoted in the original post that started the discussion. Mary Ann Newcomer chimes in again to say that I did call for a boycott and how she hopes I don't join the GWA because it is for "kind and gracious people." Danielle once again chimes to explain that the particular tweet she quoted didn't come from me and for people to search for it on their own. The truth doesn't matter at this point. The narrative has been set. I'm trying to bring down the GWA all by myself.
Ivette Soler (Hi, I know you're reading this. You still owe me a deep dish pizza!) adds her incredulity to the chorus of people outraged that I'm starting a boycott of the GWA and goes on a huge rant about how people shouldn't pay attention to me because I don't matter in the gardening world. There are also some references made to garden blogging in general that try to paint me as being anti-commercialized garden blogs. It's clear she's either making things up or misunderstood something because I'm been a proponent of commercialized blogs since I started blogging.
Honestly, I was taken aback by the comments in this thread by Mary Ann Newcomer. Mostly because I had no idea who she was but she seemed to know A LOT about me. From her quoting from my Google+ bio I take it she's spent some time reading what I've been posting online for a while. I had to be reminded that I have had the misforutune of meeting this lady, and I use the term loosely, about three years ago when I was part of the organizing committee of garden bloggers that arranged for the second annual national meetup in Chicago. The only interaction I've ever had with her was her yelling at me when I was trying to collect the money so we could pay for one of our group lunches during the three-day weekend. Never spoke with or at her since that one instance in the restaurant. I later learned from another organizer that she snapped at her too when the organizer suggested that Mary Ann Newcomer not jaywalk while getting on our tour bus. So, I find her comments about the GWA being for gracious and kind people particularly funny. She certainly was anything but kind and gracious to strangers who spent months organizing a three-day weekend for her and her friends to attend.
The thread tapers off here with Danielle trying to walk away from the hornets nest she has unwittingly stirred up.
What's funny, at least to me, here is that there's so much outrage and condemnation for something I never said or proposed that anyone else do. Contrary to Steve Asbell's (TheRainforestGarden) certitude that I was behind the quote that started this thread on Facebook, I wasn't. The tweet in question didn't even originate from one of my accounts, nor did I retweet it, or address even address it. You have a bunch of garden communicators and garden professionals misquoting and misrepresenting what I did say, and that was that I've been avoiding everything to do with Arizona for the past year and will continue to do so. This isn't anything new, I've mentioned this on Twitter many times since the initial boycott. Once I joked on Twitter that the boycott had dried up my supply of turquoise bolo ties. As someone who has lived in the state I've seen firsthand the good and the bad Arizona has to offer. The bad was enough to cause me to pack my bags and move back to inner-city Chicago.
I really wish that this thread hadn't taken place today because by the time my real thoughts on the matter of GWA going to Arizona are revealed everyone will be out of outrage. I guess it's only fitting that after trolling I was super-trolled and robbed of my thunder.
TL;DR I did not call for a boycott of the Garden Writers Association contrary to what Shirley Bovshow, Marry Anne Newcomer, Steve Asbell, Anegla Treadwell-Palmer and Ivette Soler claim. If they had practiced due diligence they would've known that. Instead they gave me a hilarious look at what happens when garden "communicators" don't do their homework and stop pretending to be nice. :0) Also, I have gang of followers on social media who don't have opinions of their own and do everything I say they should. Perhaps I should use my influence for good? If only there was a social issue that I could rally the troops around. Hmm....
Update: Fern Richardson (of Life on the Balcony) has commented below to say that the Facebook group, where the discussion screen grabbed from) is not private. Well, I have to differ.
When something is public it isn't kept behind a lock, is it?
Here's another screen grab of the same thread which has now topped 100+ comments where they're still discussing me. This one starts with Angela Treadwell-Palmer, one of the proprietors of Plants Nouveau Nursery, wonder how it's possible that I'm reading what they're saying about me and asking if the group is not in fact private. Fern Richardson says she has an idea of who is copying the thread and sharing it with me, but that she's giving them an opportunity to "out themselves." Does this sound like a group that's "public" as Fern claimed in the comment below?
She goes on to say in the thread that I'm not a credible voice for garden writers as a whole. I'm not sure where she gets that I'm trying to set myself up a voice of garden bloggers besides in her own head.
This whole situation has reached a new height of absurdity. We have Fern Richardson who when she was called out for not disclosing receiving a free trip that she was blogging about went into her blog and edited the post in question and claimed that she had disclosed the financial aspect of it. Fern Richardson came clean with the lie she tried to slip past the blogger who called her out only when she was confronted with a Google cache of her blog showing that she had recently edited it. And she's questioning my credibility? Good lord. LOL. There isn't one instance that she, or anyone else, can point to where I was proven a liar or tried to pull the wool of people's eyes in the manner she did.
But it gets better. Ivette Soler's comment in this snippet reads in part, "It isn't about being a "boycotting" or "not boycotting" type-it is about respecting the freedom of choice we all have to express our political beliefs the way we feel best, and not making people feel uncomfortable because of those choice."
I'm not going to lie, I golf-clapped at what I quoted there, but if these "women" really believed that would the thread I've documented in this post have happened? I don't see where anyone was respecting anyone's freedom of choice. Instead, what I saw was me being attacked for something I never even said.
Another interesting thing to note here is Angela Treadwell-Palmer's involvement in this whole mess. I really had no idea who she was until in mid-August when while I was attending the Independent Garden Center Show I received some tweets by her asking me about my name and why I didn't use my legal name on Twitter or on my blog. At the time I gave her my usual "What does it matter? I'm not famous" song and dance that I give the nosy and creepers until I could get home and Google who she was. I learned that she was one of the two women behind the Plants Nouveau nursery and promptly forgot about her. Today, I see her participating in the witch hunt against me over a statement I never even made and I have to wonder, "Is this good social media marketing?" Well, it certainly isn't the best way to get me to recommend your brand and plants to gardeners.