Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Ballad of Patrick FitzGerald

On the 4th of July, Patrick FitzGerald from FitzGerald Nurseries in Kilkenny, Ireland started to follow my updates on Twitter. He checked out as a real person, a plant breeder/nurseryman who was following plant and gardening related people all over the world. Cool.

Soon he commented on one of my tweets, and asked a simple question. At the same time he was similar engaging other landscape designers and green professionals, by commenting on their posts, asking questions about plants they like and use, and then simply showing pictures of some of the beautiful plants he's been developing for years.

From such simple actions Pat has caught the attention of designers and gardeners all over the country. After 20 years of breeding exceptional plants and supporting his industry in Ireland, the UK and Europe, he is finally promoting himself and his work, and it is exciting to watch.

That's all. There's no measurable ROI here yet, but just ask Pat if that's how he feels about what has happened. He is building relationships that will be firmly in place by the time his new introductions are launched. And if Pat ever comes to the states, you can bet he'll have many friends here that will want to buy him a pint.

All from a few tweets, a blog, and a quiet belief in his extremely strong product. (Sometimes I think the last is missing from the equation, but everybody is too distracted by the first two to notice.) So this is what I understand 'the conversation' to be. I know it lacks statistics or anything else empirical. And I think that's a good thing.

My Social Media Gurus

Some of you may know that I'm a practicing Buddhist; if not, well, now you do! In the study of Buddhism great emphasis is placed on finding a teacher, a guide, a guru...someone who has walked along the path farther than you have, and can show you the way.

Every important endeavor I've ever undertaken has been with the guidance of a teacher. You can learn only so much from books, which lack the ability to interact, answer personal questions, give more examples, put things in context, or smack you upside the head.

The true teacher is valuable not only for the information they give, but also for their example in the world. A true teacher walks their talk and shows you how it is done. Confusion reigns when we are told to 'do as I say, not as I do.' For me, a true teacher should be consistent.

So I place my hands together and bow to the Social Media gurus that I follow. You can see their names and recent posts in my blog roll below. What I am learning, I am learning from them.

That they are a diverse bunch is a good thing: Social Media has many facets and flavors, and it is helpful for my mind to hear the same thing many times, using different words, different tones, and from different points of view.

This dynamic flow of information allows me to recognize what resonates as truth for me, while at the same time keeping me abreast of diverse opinions.

At the beginning of any Buddhist teaching it is important to set one's intention, and at the end it is helpful to dedicate the benefit of the teaching to others.

I am grateful that once again I have found a worthwhile faculty, and it is my intention to be a star student. And any good that I accomplish I dedicate to everyone who is trying their best to do the same.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome to the Livengood Way

Just in case anyone stumbles on my infant before I announce its existence, this is a personal blog discussing my experiences, observations and opinions about Social Media (SM). For me, SM is Facebook, Twitter and my blogs; the open forums through which I connect with the world.

Today, July 14, marks one year since I joined Facebook. Since that day I have connected or reconnected with literally hundreds of people from current and previous lives; family, friends, colleagues, clients, all in a happy mashup that sustains me and enriches my life.

I have a network of friends across the country, and therefore can reach many more people than I could ever have imagined. There's a sense of responsibility to make what I put out in the world useful and beautiful. That's a nice mission statement. Do check back!