As the founder of Leaf Cuisine and as a person, I’ve experienced a kind of rebirth these past few weeks. And it is a rebirth in my connection with others, but not the traditional way. I’ve experienced a rebirth through my experience of social media. I know that sounds bizarre, but its true. And this has created a lot of energy, not yet in the cyber world, but in my own life.

Over the past months, I began to realize the extent to which social media has become an integral part of how the modern world interacts. Previously, I thought it was just something some people did for kicks, self-promotion or business promotion. I didn’t get it. I admit it.

But I have an opportunity with my brand of foods, Leaf Cuisine, going national in January 2016. Over the past couple of years, I have been investing in lots of in-store demos, mostly in the Whole Foods Markets in Southern California. This has helped a lot in building a customer base. I always say “tasting is believing” with my products. And yet, I realized that as we expanded around the country, I had better get on the social media bandwagon.   

I reached out to one of my nephews, Ian, who works in the social media sphere and asked him if he would spend a little time with me via computer and phone and orient me about this new world I was not a part of.

Ian gave me an excellent short course in the current reality of social media and how it is used to help create communities around products, experiences, brands, people etc. This really struck me, as previously I would have said that people who spend a lot of time on social media are actually retreating from the world into their mobile devices. But I got it when Ian said it. I had been wrong. Social media is just a new way to connect. And a way that allows connecting and building communities with technology, which empowers every individual.

Ian strongly urged me to personally take on the social media for Leaf Cuisine rather than hire out. He said that as the founder and driving force of Leaf Cuisine, I need to be the one reaching out and the one creating its voice, its call, its appeal, its ethos. He said that if my company was a more generic or mainstream company than it might not matter so much. But because the Leaf Cuisine products are all about getting back to nature, authenticity, genuine value and the love of life, then this was going to have to come from me.

Ian helped lay out a direction for me to follow. We chose Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as my primary platforms. I have also added in LinkedIn just because I seem to like it and it enables me to connect with people in a different way.

So for the past weeks, I have been “grinding”, that is making Facebook posts, taking pictures and posting to Instagram and reaching out to friends and acquaintances on LinkedIn. While I have definitely enjoyed the experience, it has been a very steep learning curve, which is to say “painful”. There is so much I don’t know, but also my social media accounts were in such a mess that my attempts to move forward eventually came up to the boulder blocking my way- duplicate Facebook accounts, duplicate LinkedIn Accounts, a YouTube Channel I couldn’t access, and more fundamentally a mix between my personal and professional social media life. It was a mess.

I researched for a solid week before I tried converting and merging Facebook accounts but still ended up stymied. In fact, it was looking like things were worse than ever. But then good karma stepped in and pulled my fat from the fryer. An old friend from my years in Dahab, Egypt, Graeme Fordham, had reached out to me to let me know he would be in LA and was hoping to get together. I offered him to stay with me for a few nights, which he did before moving on to downtown LA where he was working at the Staples Center doing high-end photography (http://www.graemefordham.com) for a major car convention. On the last day he sat down with me and we worked on sorting out my social media tangle- and it worked!

It worked! I now have a single LEAF CUISINE Facebook Page and a single personal Rod Rotondi Facebook profile- and I even know the difference between a “page” and a “profile”. Plus, Graeme shared sources for continued learning in a wide range of fields, which are all important for my new life.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a Facebook page just for my personal life! In the past, my personal social media was always mixed together with my business. To now have a platform to connect with my friends around the world, share my story and cultivate our community is incredibly exciting to me. Just last week, I skyped with one of my best friends ever after nearly 15 years. What a blessing!

Yes, I am excited! I am turned on. It’s a big world out there and I will participate. I will connect. I will put myself out there to create communities with others. Somehow, this entrée into social media has awakened and inspired me as a person.

Today I find myself on a juice fast. Yes, I am taking full responsibility. I want to make the most out of my life, and so I find myself reconnecting with the passions that initiated my creation of Leaf Cuisine- health, vitality, helping others and being part of a community passionate about building a better world “one bite at a time”. But it’s not just about food. It’s really about fully embracing who I am. And when I say that, I mean who my highest me is- because it’s a choice. We all know it. Mostly we ignore it or blame other factors. But we each have a choice to live at our highest potential or not. And what I have realized, is that social media has the potential to allow us to live connected to a community of people who will support and encourage us on our path.

So yes, you will be seeing more of LEAF CUISINE on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. And yes, that will be me writing. Part of my motivation is to promote my food business, but I know that Leaf Cuisine is also an organic outgrowth of who I am and the community I want to be part of- am part of.

Feeling lots of love and wanting to connect!

#LeafCuisine