National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Since 2007, I have waded ever deeper into the stream of social media, and now find myself up to my neck in fast-rushing water. From Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn to Instagram to Pinterest, I have have created more passwords on more sites than one favorite sports team should rightly support.

Most of the heavy lifting has come with discussion groups, or message boards. I founded and managed a couple of different discussion groups in the past five years. One is the early Google-based message board “Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group.”

That 250+ member group (founded March 4, 2007) is old school, and is dominated by a couple of great posters who have been the backbone of the group since its first days. Big Apple and Luis, I’m always grateful for your contributions and participation, which provided enough encouragement for me to expand the concept to LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn version of the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group was unveiled in June 2008. At the end of 2008, the group had a whopping 63 members. The international group now has a heartbeat of its own, and boasts more than 7,040 members. For a tasty sample, check out this lively discussion and poll of the future of genetically modified fruits and vegetables here.

The growth of the group has mirrored the incredible ascension of LinkedIn, which this year has celebrated its ten-year anniversary.

What does it all mean? Not quite world-changing, of course. But more sharing, more connecting, more intelligence gleaned;  simply more addicting interaction with a global produce community.

Now, The Packer has a social media site of its own. We’re building content into the site, including my latest entry that includes a pdf and a discussion of the Florida Tomato Exchange complaint against the Department of Commerce. 

Just like the groups on Google and LinkedIn, I intend to be a big part of the growth of The Packer’s group - God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Come on in. The water's fine.