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Twitter and Tomatoes – 2009 Retrospective

December 30, 2009

From my "garden"

I’m writing today while listening to a webinar on Designing a Social Media Business Plan for 2010.  Lots of excellent points being made, but it’s lengthy.  So, multi-tasking is in order…

Looking Back at 2009

Tomorrow is the last day of what has been a challenging year for almost everyone I know.  From the world of real estate to the world of academia dealing with budget cuts at the University.  From local tourism to the music business.  But, for me, there are two highlights of the year that will dramatically color my memory of 2009.  This year, I joined Twitter.  And this year, I grew tomatoes.


Yes, I know.  Sounds a little incongruous to point to Twitter and tomatoes as highlights of the year, but bear with me and I’ll try to make sense of it.


I can’t take time here to try to convince the unconvinced that Twitter is valuable.  What I will say is that I’ve learned just as much by using Twitter this year as I learned in sitting in classes at the University of Hawaii-Hilo last semester.  In some cases, I even used Twitter to help me do the work I had to do for those classes.  Through Twitter, I’ve connected with thought-leaders in real estate, marketing and journalism.  I’ve been able to get to know local folks on the Big Island whose paths I may have never otherwise crossed.  I’ve also been able to keep up with news events without wasting countless minutes waiting through TV advertisements and “fluff” pieces that dilute most news broadcasts.

Like it or not, technology is giving consumers (of products and of news) options to tune out traditional advertising.  For businesses (including media corporations), this means adapting.  For individuals, this means learning how to put those technologies to work to improve your quality of life.  More about that in a minute.

And Tomatoes?

We had a garden when I was young.  But I thought gardening was old-fashioned.  A sure sign my parents weren’t all that cool.  If I’d known then what I know now…

A few years after I moved to Hawaii, I started the journey toward understanding what being healthy really means.  I started reading about good nutrition and spent some time studying how the human body is designed to work.  I’m no saint, but my eating habits have changed dramatically from what they were ten years ago.  And I’ve learned a few things about sustainability along the way too.  So, this year, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I live in beautiful Hawaii and take another step toward living out these values I have come to embrace.  I started four tomato plants this summer and, on October 1, I harvested the first edible thing I’ve ever grown.

Connecting the Dots

Even though I’m looking forward to leaving this year behind and moving on into a  new decade, I’ve been reminded of a few important things through my year of Twitter and tomatoes:

  1. We are in control of how much technology we allow into our lives. Everyone will have a different saturation point.  Going beyond that is unhealthy.  Sometimes, spending an afternoon playing in the dirt is better than reading Facebook updates.
  2. Humans are not machines. We rely on our connection to the earth that sustains us–and we don’t have reset buttons.  What we do to our bodies has a cumulative effect.   (Generally, I’m speaking in a purely physical sense, but I do think that there are spiritual benefits in gardening and in adopting a health-oriented approach to food.)
  3. My community is not just local. I live in a small town on an island in the Pacific.  And yet, with a few keystrokes, thanks to the growth of social networking, I can share ideas with industry leaders on the mainland, keep up with my cousin in Maseru or learn to make Tuscan pasta sauce from an Italian cook.

Although technology and gardening may seem to be quite disparate topics, they have, in part, defined my year.  And I’ll move forward into 2010 contemplating the lessons I’ve learned from Twitter and my tomato garden.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Don permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:20 pm

    Aloha Cynthia. Congrats on starting your blog.

  2. Betty permalink
    December 31, 2009 7:25 am

    Very enjoyable reading….how about Twitter, Tomatoes, and Tom? 🙂

    • December 31, 2009 11:58 am

      Hi Aunt Betty! Now, you know a girl has to keep some secrets! Have a great New Year!

  3. December 31, 2009 11:39 am

    Nicely put Cynthia! I think we are all enjoying your commentary on life on the Big Island.

    • December 31, 2009 11:57 am

      Thanks, Rick! I’m following you on Twitter now – sorry if I missed you before! Look forward to staying in touch in the New Year.

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