2009 Year in Review: My Tools, Sites and Statistics

It’s that time of year when I geek out over what has happened in 2009, in terms of social networking, blogging, my photography, travel, and food! If you prefer picture books to novels, you can check my 2009 Year in Pictures. Interested in how other years have gone for me? Check the 2008, 2007 and 2006 editions as well.

Social Networking

I didn’t spend much time joining new mainstream social networks, but dedicated some time to finding some communities organized around action! (keep reading the entire post to find out what I mean)

  • In 2009 I remained very active on Twitter and Facebook and said goodbye to FriendFeed. I’m still using ASmallWorld, Flickr and LinkedIn but they are not the first sites I open each day.
  • Biggest resource of 2009: It remained Twitter. The diversity of people I follow or are exposed to through ReTweets and lists make it an immediate go-to for me.
  • Biggest sell-out of 2009: For me, it was FriendFeed. I think Facebook buying it (and subsequently not improving or investing in it) means it’s dead in the water, and I think FF really needs to improve the way users interact (perhaps adding photos to each comment) as some very interesting discussions occurred there but also some crazy flames and ganging up, too. Also, people deleting their accounts meant entire discussions disappeared. There’s a lack of accountability that I feel other sites handle better.
  • Bloggers met (in person) in 2009: This was a big year for seeing food bloggers at the BlogHer conference in Chicago, but I was a little upset BlogHer Food was announced after I’d made my plans (hurry up and announce if there’ll be a date in 2010!). I really enjoyed Travel Blog Exchange in Chicago where I met so many great travel bloggers. I continue to meet tons of Italian bloggers as an organizer for the Girl Geek Dinners in Milan.

Blogging, Photography and Computing

Fundraising, Donations, and Supporting Causes

This section has become even more important to me as this year I stepped up my giving efforts and put my money where my mouth is when it comes to supporting open source, services that I regularly benefit from and interesting causes.

  • Working with causes, powered by Social Networks and Bloggers: we continued Ovarian Cancer for Awareness in October with a great turnout, I contributed two great bid items to Menu for Hope and gave David a hand with the Europe round-up – we raised more than $78,000! I also want to give a shout-out to the travel bloggers’ initiative Passports with Purpose which raised more than $26,000 – this year I just donated money but hopefully next year I can be more involved.
  • Supporting other entrepreneurs via Kiva.org, which I had known about for quite some time, in July I bit the bullet and signed up to become a microloan lender. For now I’m concentrating on mainly female entrepreneurs. I know that I’m not donating directly to the individuals, but for now I still think it’s a worthwhile contribution that I can keep reinvesting.
  • Supporting interesting projects and the arts at Kickstarter.com – it’s a community-powered lending site for projects that are proposed by individuals and teams who are then responsible for getting 100% of the funded amount (or nothing at all) by a deadline. Most projects revolve around the arts (music, photography, film, design) and new projects are being inserted often! The project owners offer special incentives to donors based on the level of donation in the form of handmade things, photos, updates, etc., tailored to the project. It’s the 21st century of patronage. Here’s my profile. (Anyone have an invite to start a Kickstarter project? Contact me…I have an idea!)

Open Source Software and Creative Commons

I continue to be a big advocate of open source software and I’m also making some strides to contribute more in terms of my own T&M (time and materials).

Food, Cooking & Eating

This year, while I never stopped eating, I did decide not to keep up with the Joneses so much this year. I can’t be chasing the latest trend across the globe, stocking my pantry full of one-use ingredients, or making a ton of space in my tiny apartment for single plates, forks and endless napkins that I can’t use in normal life. When I moved apartments this year, and I had to choose between plates and memories as my meager belongings are still following me around the globe, it definitely struck me that I can’t become a food stylist with the shelf space I have available in the near future.

This year, I’m changing up my goals a bit. I’m trying to focus on a little more savory things and more “basics” – I got the book “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman and I bought a few more cookbooks with some basics in them – I intend to do a little more offline reading this year for my cooking inspiration. Luckily I have a little space available to expand my cookbook collection (currently hovering under a dozen books!) as I made room for things during the move.

    First, let’s look back: How did I do on my “I Dare” cooking challenges for 2009? Again, not as well as I’d hoped.

    1. Cake, cupcake, cookie decorating – I did make valiant advances in looking for the perfect frosting recipe, but my decorating set remained mainly untouched.
    2. 12 Fresh Pastas – I continued to make fresh pasta like Fresh Spinach Reginette Pasta with Walnut Pesto and How to Make Fresh Homemade Spaghetti alle Vongole, Pasta with Clams but I didn’t get to 12 types, at least on the blog.
    3. Alternative flours, grains and legumes – I continue to use alternative grains every day but I’m not blogging about it.
    4. Playing with Flavored Liquor – I failed at this one.
    5. Croissants – this one, too :(

    I’m getting ready for World Nutella Day, in its 4th year, on February 5th, 2010!

    Reading and eBooks

    • Books (new) read in 2009: 79 (100% were ebooks). These are only new books for this year – I tend to re-read from my library as well. I also added a few paper cookbooks to the mix, too.
    • Ebook Advocate: I have been digital for 4 years now – I wrote a Guide to Ebooks for Ebook Week on my tech blog, When I Have Time, for those that are new to ebooks or are interested in getting started!

    Travel and Moving Around

    • Cities lived in: 1 – Milan, Italy; but I changed apartments, yay!
    • Countries visited: 4 – U.S., Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France, Istanbul, Turkey
    • Years without a car: 6.5 but this streak has ended. We officially picked up a used car at the end of the year. I’ll continue taking public transportation every day to work.
    • Carbon: According to Dopplr, a service I used to track my travels, for the first half of 2009 I totaled: 913 kg CO2
    • Moving around: I signed up for a gym after taking a break for a while, and started up with Nike+ sensor with my iPod Touch and I’m loving it.

    What about you – do you have any interesting stats you track for your end of year?

    Note: I have an Amazon affiliate store – many of the links in this post have an affiliate link to the Amazon site in case you are interested in buying that product. I will get a small percentage of the purchase price if you do (4-6%). Otherwise, plug the name of the product into Google and buy it somewhere else!

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    1. Rose in Cali says

      Sara, your posts are always full of useful and/or entertaining information. Thank you so much the good you put out into the world. (My favorite all-time post is “Help! How Do I Live and Work in Italy? Part 1”) Wishing you much continued success!

    2. says

      I can totally relate to the “buying domains is the new impulse shopping.” I have three active websites, but many more *waiting*, and some more retired for good. (I have done my fair share of drunk domain purchasing- so many good ideas from a bottle of wine!- but for the most part they have the same fate as drunk text messages- never to be looked at again.

      And so how many domains am I up to? Me thinks around 40, which is a full “decade” above my biological age ;)

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