Monday, June 22, 2009

Smitten by a Dragonfly on Sanibel Island

A dragonfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocata or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifacted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Even though dragonflies possess 6 legs like any other insect, they are not capable of walking.

The above, a definition straight out of Wikipedia, is certainly one way to look at these little critters.

But I prefer my own view.

Dragonflies were always a source of wonder for me a child spending summers on my Aunt's farm where a nearby creek seemed to be an unending source for viewing them. It fascinated me that this flying insect could make itself airborne with such light wings compared to its heavier body.

In those days we did not know the name, let alone this sophisticated information above, and we just called them darning needles.

But they came to represent those lazy summer days when we spent hours plucking cattails from the banks of the creek (we called them "punks") and letting our feet cool off in the swift flowing waters.

Now that I see "dragonflies" during most of our visits to Sanibel, though I know a little more, the fascination continues and is joined by a different delight.

Dragonflies are natural predators. Among their preferred meals are mosquitoes, and I am always happy to see the dragonflies proliferating knowing that that means there will be less mosquitoes on the Island.

And I am also enamored with all the symbolism a dragonfly engenders. They are associated with color magic, illusion in causing others only to see what you wish, and other mysticism. The are often depicted in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy. To some Native Americans they are the souls of the dead. Faerie stories say that they used to be real dragons.

The Sanibel dragonfly does bring joy to my life on both the real and symbolic level.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sanibel and Social Media: A New Way to Look and Book

I don't know about everyone else, but there are few things as inviting for me as an inviting porch. No, not a living room or dining room or even family room. That porch is the transition between outdoors and indoors and as such speaks volumes to me about the whole concept of relaxation and good conversation.

So, having duly become one of the trillions of people to participate in Social Media, I was delighted to find a Facebook application that hits on both the invitational nature of porches and Social Media. It's called "Second Porch" , appropriately, and essentially does what Facebook and porches are intended to do. Invite good conversation.

Now, to this date, I have gotten most of my rental inquires on my condo and house through my direct marketing efforts as well as those of my respective rental offices. But I sense a change in the winds.

With Social Media growing at the leaps and bounds it is experiencing, I see more and more commercial applications evolving within the more casual and more friendly parameters of sites like Facebook.

Of course, there is a bit of hopeful thinking in this as Social Media is free as opposed to the high rates of listing vacation rentals on many of the popular vacation rental sites.

But there is probably more realism than optimism in that projection.

Personal referral creates a sense of confidence that no third party testimonial can replicate.

And through Second Porch's application, a Facebook user can choose the vacation rental as a "favorite", suggest it to other Facebook members, rate it and track it. All these functions are free to the vacation rental owner and the Facebook community in general.

As one who likes seamless friendship- to- business transactions, Facebook and specifically Second Porch have a lot to commend them as future vacation rental "go to's".