To many, Google+ is less of a social media platform than a nuisance that seeks to invade the experience of using any of Google’s more successful tools. What lies beyond these bothersome and confusing notifications? An arboretum, apparently.
While Tumblr has Gratuitous Picture of Yourself Wednesday (GPOYW), and Twitter has #VinDieselSunday, Google+ has developed a weekly ritual neither so absurd nor self-absorbed: #TreeTuesday. You don’t have to be funny or rationalize a selfie: Just post a photo of a tree.
Any tree will do, though #TreeTuesday often puts special emphasis on the tallest, oldest, or just plain weird-looking specimens. It’s also an opportunity to see how natural vegetation varies across the country and the globe. Pines and palms, oaks and maples all mingle as one digital forest.
Currently, Tree Tuesday has a community page followed by about 8,500 users, and it, too, seems based in a simple affection for nature:
Welcome to the #TreeTuesday community! Tree Tuesday is a photo theme curated by Christina Lawrie & +Shannon S. Myers.
Share your love of trees by posting your own images to your stream with the hashtag #TreeTuesday and mention Christina and Shannon. (This helps us to find your posts)
Plenty of users have done just that, offering leafy close-ups and examinations of gnarled bark. “Who doesn’t love a good tree?” is the clear consensus, especially as some posts lament the cutting down of local favorites.
Indeed, the subtext to much of #TreeTuesday is an increased respect for our oxygen-giving neighbors. We are reminded of their perfect shade, their climbability, and their romantic associations. Their crucial role in our imperiled ecosystem is a frequent topic.
It’s an odd symbol for a tech-driven society, but the humble, fragile, life-giving tree takes on a still greater beauty in the 21st century. Contrary to rigid, cookie-cutter forms, the tree is a triumph of free-form design, twisting and growing in accordance with its environment rather than in opposition to it. Humanity could stand to take that lesson.