Keeping on[line] farming: Examining young farmers’ digital curation of identities, (dis)connection and strategies for self-care through social media
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This paper explores the geographies of digital curation and self-care among young farmers in the UK, examining how virtual and digital spaces are having a significant impact on how young farmers negotiate their identities, (dis)connection and self-care within their everyday lives. Drawing on interviews with 28 young famers in the UK, we observe how farming identities are (re)produced and practiced online, via carefully curated social media, and how these might constitute practices of self-care in overcoming issues such as disconnection and rural isolation. Our analysis reveals how social media posts are more than simple connections, they are curations of the self that are complexly bound up in the emotional, spatial and temporal contexts of the author’s identities. We examine how digital curation is not just an act of the self, but something drawn relationally to others. Attention is given not just to what is posted, but how others are (dis)engaged with, and how posts of others are reacted to, or endorsed, implicitly or explicitly. Through our examination of young farmers’ social identities, we therefore argue that digital identities are produced, practiced, managed and understood in very specific ways ‘online’, in ways that carefully overlap with other geographical identities.
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