It’s 5.30 in the morning and, as usual, I’m sitting in the garden with my piping hot double espresso. I enjoy the silence and the sun coming up behind our trees. Ah, the sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze, the smell of the wet soil, the peace and quiet.. Until – suddenly – my phone starts pinging away.
It’s a kind of “blow-up-your-phone”, relentless pinging I’d never heard before. And definitely not at this hour!
My friends and family are, in fact, still sleeping. Nothing newsworthy has occurred during the night. My website isn’t sharing posts requiring feedback yet. So – who could it be?
I take a look at my screen. It’s Instagram.
Wait – Instagram??
I look again.
Yes, definitely Instagram.
What I had I done to make it so mad at me?
I take a closer look at my screen and realize the little bleeps are people across the oceans going crazy over a picture I had posted the afternoon before of a tiny zucchini plant reaching out of the earth. Ten likes, twenty, thirty. I then lose count as I start getting private messages asking how to make tomatoes grow, how to keep pests away from strawberries, if i was doing anything to make the life of honey bees a life worth living, when to harvest lettuce.
Being new to this digital world (sure, I have a Facebook account but this – this is a whole new universe!), an overwhelming feeling of cluelessness sweeps over me. What do I do now? Do I thank all these people for their likes? Do i like their posts back? Should I follow them? Shall I answer their messages now or strategically make them wait and want more?
Nobody had briefed me on the “digital etiquette” that follows living a life on social media and I had postponed learning about it on my own until my blog was up and running, figuring I wouldn’t need any specific “virtual skills” before then.
I am wrong. I need an education – and I need it now.
So I start winging it – liking posts back, answering every private message, sharing my email address and threading conversations. I soon find myself shyly interacting with a variety of people I may never physically meet, four languages at a time, from all twenty-four time zones. And I find out this truly is a worldwide web – a web of generous, sharing and inspiring individuals from the remotest parts of the globe. People that, like me, want to change the world one little seed, one little recipe, one little dream at a time.
Ideas start flying, partnerships start forging, energy and synergies start zinging through the air. The cluelessness and awkwardness melt away – and i realize that we are all on the same page. We are all one. One big family journeying through life trying to be good, to do good, to leave the world a better place than we found it, to live our dreams in togetherness. This is not “me” and “mine” anymore. It is “we”, it is “us”, it is “ours”.
I most probably would have never gotten in touch with these inspiring people – which I plan to keep as part of my life as long as i can – had it not been for this digital world I have been shoved into. So thank you, shover (you know who you are), for pushing me over the edge into a new adventure. And thank you, digital era, for connecting me to an ocean of inspiring ideas, great minds and kind souls.
And thank YOU, reader of my blog, for taking the time to check out the unfurling of someone else’s dream.
Come join our ride. Be part of our Tribe.
Hi there! My name is Michelle. I’m an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here – with your help – where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.