Monday, May 28, 2012
Social Media: Spreading the word of agriculture quickly and efficiently, but is it effective?
As I get closer to graduation (only 12 more days!), I've been contemplating what my future, and the future of agriculture communications, will hold. Looking around at job postings, I see so many positions opening up in the area of social media. Whether it be Facebook, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform, social media is all around us and is proving itself to be a key component to agriculture communication. With that said though, I tend to question the quality and success of social media in spreading the word of agriculture. Though it can get the word out quickly and efficiently, I wonder if it does so effectively. What I think lacks from social media is a conversation and putting a real face to agriculture. With my experiences this past summer through my internship, I had the opportunity to spread the word of agriculture (specifically the egg industry), at farmers markets, fairs, and schools. This provided me the chance to converse with people and see and hear first hand their thoughts regarding agriculture, farmers, and animal welfare. What I found most effective about my communication and outreach efforts was that I was able to have a true conversation with people and they were able to walk away having talked directly with someone involved in the industry, putting a so called "face" to the farmer. This is something that lacks from social media, and I don't think it is something that should go by the wayside. I think that social media platforms have a place in the future of agriculture communication in their ability to pass information quickly and efficiently, but I don't think it can replace the effectiveness of a face to face conversation with consumers. With that said, as I move towards finding a job and career, I hope to find something that utilizes my abilities and talents to converse with people face to face and help them understand American agriculture through public outreach and education.