People have been growing African violets for decades now. The faces and names of prominent violet people have changed; the way we grow the plants has changed, and we now have over 16,000 named hybrids in the database. With the advent of the internet, the violet world has been forced to learn and grow in new ways. Long gone are the days when magazine advertisements were the only ways to spread the news of the latest hybrids. Nowadays, we’re able to see breathtaking photos of brand new international hybrids before they’ve even been named. I think sometimes we forget how much has changed in such little time, and this got me thinking (sometimes a dangerous thing!)
I wonder what some folks from the past would think of this new, instantaneous way of experiencing the violet world. Would they revel in the speed at which information and media can travel? Or would they yearn again for the old days when anticipation and excitement led to a possible deeper passion for the hobby? The truth is, many violet fans out there today are still unable to embrace the technology that brings the show plants into our homes on 24+-inch, full-color screens. They don’t know what blogs are, and they really don’t get Facebook.
I understand the need to reach out into the abyss of the web, to spread images and information that the public demands instant access to, and I definitely try to do my part, however small. But I guess I encourage everyone to keep trying to bridge the gaps between the technological generations, helping to bring them together in creative new ways. New technology may come naturally to some, but certainly not to all, and we’re in the age where it is changing daily. Keeping up with it is hard, even for me. And even though having all this instant information at our fingertips is a true treasure of innovation, let’s not disregard the tangible sentiment that brought violet hobbyists together in the first place. I hope we won’t eventually turn to strictly “virtual” meetings and shows. What a sad day that would be indeed!