It doesn’t seem that many years ago I scoffed at being online. Computers…what do I need that for? Haven’t needed it yet! Then things changed. Computers became a tool, then an important tool. Then came social media.
I laughed in agreement at Brad Paisley’s “Online” single, but today am active in social media daily. Besides multiple blogs, Twitter and Facebook I do still have MySpace pages (although they aren’t updated nearly as much as I should be doing!) and occasionally YouTube.
Why the change? A big part of it was being on Twitter one day and seeing a message about #agchat – and later I was one of 50 selected to attend the Agvocacy 2.0 Conference to learn more effective ways to do social media.
There are many ways it’s become a factor. There are some games on Facebook I play, but more than that it’s been a way to connect with others. Added to the views, I got tired of seeing agriculture misrepresented in the media, often from people who were not involved in agriculture. I know how to drive a car but am not a mechanic and wouldn’t tell GM how to build one! Yet many tell farmers how to farm often based on things that simply don’t make sense.
Social media is a way to bring individual stories to a much bigger audience. It leverages the message by allowing it to reach thousands of people rather than a few. It’s a frustrating effort sometimes but overall enjoyable. It makes my day when someone says “I never thought of it that way before!” Instagram is a wide network of people. The business person can upload the stories with the new launched products. They can buy instagram views on the stories for promoting the product.
It gives small farm individuals the same power as Tysons, a tweet that Tysons themselves recently re-tweeted! Whether someone has thousands of birds or under 100, it allows them to be showing and telling the reality of “what’s going on out here” to anyone around the world.
On my blog I’ve started a monthly installment of “five minute breaks” – things that may be ordinary and sometimes “boring” but that those in the cities don’t have a chance to see. The first one was simply going out at the edge of the chicken pen and turning the camera on – the birds carried on eating and scratching in mulch in the pen. A New York City resident said it was like taking a trip without leaving her home…and the ‘five minute break’ series was born!
Coming from an “I’ll never seriously use computers’ viewpoint it’s a vast difference! If someone had told me 20 years ago I’d not only be online daily but would be spending several hours per day communicating online I’d have said they were nuts. And I’d have been wrong! Not only is that a fact of life now but – yes – I enjoy it too. It’s as important to educate and share – including writing here! – as feeding and watering animals.