Go digital – just don’t stay there

Go digital – just don’t stay there


The digital world sure is whizz-bang, but that just makes the tactile things of the real world to be cherished all the more.



OH FOR a typewriter or a pencil. 

Staring at a computer screen for extended periods can prompt the thought above. It makes you long for something simpler, a less complicated way to perform a task. 

It’s a curious thing that in an age of living digitally, an age where swiftness of information flow is heralded as the key to success, the simple, tactile things take on a new significance. 

A recent discussion among rural journalists highlighted the need to refocus on how rural producers operate. 

This particular group of journos speak to farmers from across the breadth of ag throughout the nation on a weekly basis. 

They reported that many producers are becoming tired of the digital push.

Every conference it seems, every research paper, every workshop touches on the need to embrace the digital realm. 

The internet of things is a phrase, as far as this scribe can interpret, which simply means devices used in the real world which are connected to the internet. 

Talk hovers around information flow, big data, robotics, wireless technology, online presence and multi-platform outlets. 

It seems technical advances are a long way off from replacing those physical tasks which those on the land relish. It’s part of the attraction of the industry.

They’re good buzzwords and linked to plenty of funding but let’s not get consumed in the binary code of it all. 

A potato grower recently said the world was more connected than ever before but people are lonelier than ever.

Could the digital push be sapping something from us, taking away our ability to (and indeed, enjoyment that comes from) sharing information face to face? 

It may be all well and good for those in office jobs, those commuting on public transport between concrete towers to swipe and scroll to their heart’s content but at the end of the day, tractors still need to be driven, ground worked, seedlings planted, harvesters driven, fruit picked and livestock handled. 

It seems technical advances are a long way off from replacing those physical tasks which those on the land relish. It’s part of the attraction of the industry. 

After all, you can’t shove an iPad down the dashboard of the Landcruiser the same as you can a folded magazine or newspaper. 

It would be nice to hand-write this column with a sharpened HB pencil on a yellowed notepad, then hand it in to be processed and placed onto this page. 

Alas, those days are gone. 

We can’t, of course, go backwards in our outlook. There are more than enough people sitting in the past, waiting for the glory days to magically reappear. 

We can, however, appreciate the physical world for what it is – the chill of morning orchard air; the scent of turned soil; the sound of toast popping in a kitchen. 

So yes, be on the internet – visit our website, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, but keep hold of what’s real. 

The internet is a big place. Don’t get lost out there. 


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