I was somewhat surprised a month ago when I spoke about social media at the North American Consulting School (NACS). The room was full of agriculture consultants whom were all very passionate about the industry. I was expecting a very like warm sort of response to my presentation with a maybe a few fellow self-described “geeks” asking some questions that were over most the audiences head. What I got was something entirely different.
I received many questions about applications like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Linkedin that were really great. There was a genuine interest in how agriculture could better use this new form of interaction to better the industry and their businesses. More and more I am also finding that farmers are changing their opinions and perceptions of social media. Some people still say, “I have no time,” or “I don’t get it” but that is slowly changing as people begin to test the possibilities of the social medium.
I talked to Michele Payn Knoper, Cause Mattes Corp about her travels across North America engaging and education farming in social media. I should also note that Michele is one of the founders of the AgChat Foundation.
For many people it is easy to see why these applications fit into our personal lives but when we talk about business applications the water can get much muddier and some personal steering and experimenting can be required. As Michele Payn-Knoper mention in the above interview, it is really about conversation and not the mis-interpretted random un-replied blank bland statements about your need to find a washroom.
As Michele and I discussed its about rising the profile of the conversation about agriculture and how we produce the food for the world. It is our responsibility to engage and not be defensive or ignorant to the world around us. It is our responsibility to make sure that we use the tool available to us to ensure that agriculture’s story is told.
On top of the external conversation, social media also allows farmers to share knowledge and improve the skills on their farm. I have had many conversations with people on weed identification, seed cleaning and seed varieties.
Don’t get me wrong the power of a face to face conversation is still un-rivaled but the advantages of social media are a great addition to more traditional communication methods. Let me know how you use social media to talk about agriculture. Do you like twitter or facebook better for convos on ag?