When one thinks of a prickly pear cactus, Texas may come to mind. Believe it or not, this sharp little beauty is also a native of Tennessee. It grows in the rockiest of terrain and you can’t kill the thing. My neighbor, Ruthie, gave me a starter when I moved into my Inglewood home fourteen years ago. I had almost forgotten about it, until that handsome, Texan boyfriend of mine (Pank) was admiring it one day. He almost seemed a little home sick for that hot and dry, but oh so beautiful landscape that I have come to be fascinated by these days. One summer afternoon of 2007, I dug up that mean little rascal and planted it at Pank’s house while he was gone. It was a surprise that I never dreamt would ever grace my yard again. A couple of years later, we married and sold his house. By that time, the native had produced bushels of baby pricklies. Each and every one of them were lovingly placed in the trunk of my Sonata, and hauled back from which they came. They are now home to a family of bunnies. The doe rabbit thinks the pricklies will keep Emma (our four legged baby) from chasing them. Meh, not so much! I have since shared some with Mamma, much to Daddy’s shagrin. I wonder what kind of creature is living in their prickly pear patch. Every spring Pank gets so excited about how many yellow flowers the Inglewood patch will produce. He took this picture last spring. Of course, he is excited about the vibrant yellow blooms. However, the true excitement is that each of those blooms will produce a wonderfully sour, purple fruit in the fall. This year’s haul made about 6 pints of juice. The process of juicing the fruit is messy, sometimes painful, but so worth it. So far, I have made mimosas and margaritas with the juice. I also plan to experiment making gummies with some of it.
I wonder if Ruthie ever thought that sharing her plant with me would have been shared with so many folks? While it is fun to learn about native Tennessee plants, I hope that this story can be applied to your social media strategy. Sharing original content is so important, but don’t forget about the power of sharing links, retweeting, repinning, etc.! In fact, it wasn’t until I “shared” Ruthie’s plant with Pank that it produced all those babies. I had almost forgotten about it, until Pank “liked” it. The viral factor in social media is staggering! Have you ever played the game “Kevin Bacon?” You know….”who’s your mammerenem?” It won’t take long to realize how deep the potential reach that social media has on your branding campaign. Where and with whom will you begin sharing your “native?”