Two of my biggest passions are social networking and organic gardening. As I participate in each of these activities, I frequently have flashes of insights about how they are similar. A few of my recent musings:

Join a community. Don’t go it alone.
I garden in a community garden because my own yard is too small and shady to grow anything. The upshot of gardening alongside others is that you learn best practices from others and get to teach what you know too. As a result, everyone’s gardens benefit. I have several communities that help me stay sharp with social media, some of them official, some less so–all are valuable.

Invest in the right tools.
Digging in the garden is no fun if you don’t have a sharp shovel. You don’t need the latest and greatest to have success with online social networking but a “fast enough” computer and internet connection and maybe a smart phone will allow you greater ease and versatility.

Take time to build your soil.
I am a vermicomposter. This means that I compost kitchen scraps, paper and lawn waste with special worms called red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and create compost that is especially nutrient rich for use with my garden. I use a special soil mix that provides optimal support for my plants. In social media I see a lot of people build profiles or pages and then not take the time to enrich their network by inviting people to join. Meaningful network building (online and offline) yields further network building as your connections facilitate new connections for you and you for them.

Weed and prune.
Larger social networks are not always better. I have a very open policy toward accepting requests to connect on most social sites. However, sometimes I find it necessary to judiciously limit connection with some connections that tend toward negative talk. A weeded garden is a healthy garden.