Jan 15th, 2013

The Power of Kawaii

Photos & text by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Snowdrop; Galanthus elwesii

I just read an article from one of my favorite blogs — Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for non-profits.  The blog post, titled 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Social Media Managers, had some great tips, most surprising of which  is to browse pictures of baby animals regularly.  Really!? I’m thinking Heather Mansfield has GOT to be kidding. But, no, she’s totally serious.  Here’s the nut graph in case you don’t believe me.

9) Browse pictures of baby animals regularly.

A recent study out of Hiroshima University called the “Power of Kawaii (Cute)” found that browsing pictures of adorable baby animals on a daily basis causes workers to slow down, relax and be more accurate in their work. Looking at cute baby animals online makes us smile, results in a feeling of goodness, and provides temporary mental relief from the strains of work. For nonprofit social media managers who have to be constantly be engaged in depressing story lines like poverty, war, environmental destruction, and violence against women, children, and animals, spending a minute two a day browsing baby animals on Pinterest is good for your mental health and your nonprofit.

What does this have to do with plants you ask? We’ll, we’ve got a pretty huge following on Pinterest too, and that got me thinking. Maybe it doesn’t have to be just baby animals that you look at to refresh your spirit. Maybe it can also be kawaii or cute “baby” plants.  People love looking at beautiful blooms.  And if looking at pictures  of gorgeous blooms on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Google+Twitter, Instagram or Pinterst can help you slow down, relax and be more accurate in your work, then just image what it could do for you if you actually get up from your work and go for a short walk outside.  Never mind that it is raining and I have other work to do.  I’m inspired. I have a hunch. A hunch that the Galanthus elwesii are blooming.  That’s snowdrops for those of you who don’t speak Latin.  And I will happily stand up from my desk and walked out in the rain for you. Yes for you, but also to test the power of Kawaii. As far as I’m concerned, snowdrops are the most adorable and “baby-like” of all the plants I can think of.  It’s one of the first plants of the new year, filled with hope and anticipation of the coming spring.  Snowdrops bloom right through snow, bitter cold rain, and push their (cute)  little  heads through all sorts of mulch and leaves just to say hello and cheer our souls and tell us,  just like Punxsutawney Phil does, that winter really will come to an end sometimes soon.

Snowdrop; Galanthus elwesii

So, here’s to the “Power of Kawaii,” and to snowdrops, and to inspiration.   As for me, my resolution is to produce more  Kawaii or cuteness on the Garden’s blog. Call it what you will, eye candy, knockout blooms, or Kawaii — I hope it brightens your day as much as it does for me to bring it to you.   Now ….back to work, and on to the next (not as cute) resolution in Heather Mansfields’ list: Tracking the Growth & ROI of Online Communities.


Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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