Virtual Garden: Growing in Connection?

Gardens!  This post is about uprooting my thoughts about our virtual gardens.  Where do you plant your time?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Pinterest?  Instagram?  After spending time away with my family on vacation, I realized that we are bombarded with the virtual world.  What I mean by that is when we were away in Disneyland and Universal Studios there were all these amazing amusement parks that all integrate into 3-D experiences.  You receive these little cards that say you can use online photos they take of you and then of course the request to like these different experiences on Facebook.  With the luxury of data and people around me constantly holding up their phones to take photos of loved ones, you start to think that perhaps the connection found in the traditional family vacation is now going together with virtual connections on family vacations.  What do you think?


The virtual and the physical now go hand in hand.  To tell you the truth, there were times when these rides looked so real with their digital 3-D actions coming straight at me, I think I started to feel scared.  I would feel the thrill of being a ride that really was not a real rollercoaster, but a pseudo-vehicle on hydraulics that makes you believe you are moving.  At Disneyland, I saw a girl hold up her phone take a photo and then press send.  Who was she connecting with?  A grandmother?  Her followers?  Her friends?  Is she truly connecting with someone or she just connecting with her device?

It came to make me think about our virtual gardens.  You know the world that you are connected to, when you aren’t connected to the people around you.  Image the water being the time you pour into these platforms.  I have been connected with Social Media now for one year and seven months.  Before I was just dabbling, but because of this specific website, I have jumped into the world of Social Media.

I thought at first that you just constantly come online and then you can “grow” your connections with others and spend time investing in others and likewise others will invest in you.  I think believing that it is a pseudo-reality.  As we all know that, if you invest time with people then your connection and your knowledge about that person becomes deeper – in real life.  I have come to understand that unless you are investing in the real people, I am just not convinced that there can be a flourishing deeply connected virtual garden.  There are thousands, and millions of people assume that the likes and the shares and the retweets can bring validity to your identity, worth and feeling connected.  I think sometimes I do.  But the question is, do they?

We all have virtual gardens.  I have just come to understand in my real reality (and yes, I mean real reality, not virtual reality) that unless I am investing in others in “real life” and connecting with them intentionally through meaningful reaching out, then much of the connections through Social Media are flowers in a small flower box.  The growth is limited.  I am of the belief that you can only create a thriving garden of connection unless there is face-to-face connection.  I shared several months ago about my thoughts about connecting through Social Media through this post.  And here is another post by Sean Robinson that made me think more about virtual gardens.  Click here to learn more.

There is something to be said about the old poem about Mary.  Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  With cockle shells and bluebells and pretty maids all in a row.

Or the modern-day version:

Mary, Mary quite tech-savy, how does your virtual garden grow?  With Twitter likes and Facebook shares and followers all stacking up.

The question is not how Mary’s virtual garden is growing, but if Mary realizes that true connected living comes with connecting with people, not a device.

What do you think?


  1. Sean Robinson

    March 31, 2015

    Love your garden theme, Victoria. And really appreciate you truly engaging with the ideas in my post and seeing how they jive with the ideas on which you have been ruminating. I really like how you are challenging me to think through the stock I place in the relationships I have through virtual means.

    Believe it or not, I am a truly human human-being who is learning and growing from our written interaction. I am no more virtual than the garden that sits outside your window. (I am assuming there is some kind of garden outside one of your windows 🙂 ). And although we have never met, I have learned from you. I place some importance in this. But as you emphasized, virtual connections should never trump connections with our friends and family. And likes and RTs pale in comparison to smiles and hugs. The virtual world can seem so urgent, so easy, so close. It can draw us in and ask us to give it more than we should. I believe this calls for greater diligence in protecting boundaries and being present with those around. Finding and guarding that balance is crucial to really growing the kind of gardens we truly want.


      March 31, 2015

      I think you are right. It’s about the learning and growing. We can’t go so-called “deep” with everyone. That is impossible. I like what you said about how the virtual world can seem so urgent, so easy and so close. I think the idea of the virtual world being at our “fingertips” is so easy. I believe it is important to just stay in check to see where your time is being spent. I think Twitter has been very good for learning and there is a huge professional group out there that has a refreshing and renewing to connect with (like yourself). I guess it is all about balance. And this topic will be definitely a continued topic of discussion, as it is constantly evolving. Thanks for your insights and your inspiration!

  2. Chris Wejr

    April 7, 2015

    Hey Victoria – love the reflective nature of this post. I have been putting way more emphasis on the face to face aspect of connection and have realized the increased depth than can come of this when compared to online. Having said this, there are times when online connections also surpass my expectations with deep connections I have with those I have met online but never face to face. I think the key piece that you have made me remember in this post is that it is time put into relationships – not RT’s, likes, posts, shares. Taking the time to support and challenge each other. When I first got into social media 6 years ago, I was connecting so much with so many that I disconnected with those right in front of me. I feel I continue to navigate this online/offline journey much better but it takes continual reflection on where I am putting my time to grow with others. Thanks for the push to reflect again.


      April 8, 2015

      I think you a right about the value of face-to-face and often I get lost in time when online. It’s all about balance, which is easier said than actually done. I also think that Social Media has been awesome with my professional growth. There is so much information out there, and there are so many awesome connections to make with amazing educators. It’s inspiring. It is truly trying to make sure that the kindling of connections online, doesn’t surpass the kindling of relationships with friends and family in reality. It’s a process, and there is no magical formula to solve the issue of the “real” versus the “digital” life balance.

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Why Blog?

Hi! My name is Victoria Woelders from Vancouver, Canada. I blog about technology, teaching and life as a Mom. This blog is a journey of my passions, inspirations and moonshot thinking.


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