I have encountered many, how do I say this nicely, "out of touch" producers who don't fully understand the current impact of social media. I cannot begin to tell you how many conversations I have had with people who say, "why do you waste your time with all that internet stuff, the only people on those things are arrogant uneducated consumers". And my usual response, That is the exact reason why we SHOULD be on all that internet stuff!
There are a lot of conversations being started out there about what farmers and ranchers are doing, but very few are actually involving producers themselves. Social media gives us that opportunity to talk to consumers from all over the world without leaving the comfort of our farm or ranch. Now don't get me wrong, face to face interaction is always best. But do you really have time to fly to New York to visit with average Annie at the grocery store about where her hamburger came from. I didn't think so.
I know that farmers and ranchers are busy people working 24/7, but my one hope for the future is that every farmer and rancher have a social media account of some time and use it to share their story with the consumer. Okay okay, I know that is like totally impossible, so let me say, I will start with my family first. This will be a major task in itself, seeing as my father is still learning how computers work (but he has an ipad now and uses it regularly..YAH for progress :) !!), I practically have to beg my oldest brother to update his company Facebook page, and my uncle and cousin have probably never even seen a twitter page. But hey, I do like a challenge! :)
So unless you live under a rock you have heard of the new social media site Pinterest, or at least I thought everyone new about it. Pinterest has become the new craze on the web and is booming, and booming fast! After less than 2 years of operation Pinterest has become the fastest growing social site in the world, with 12 million users. Yes folks, Pinterst is growing faster than Facebook did!
I am an avid "pinner" on Pinterest and have come to notice that agriculture has made quite a showing on the site. And boy am I proud. The great thing about Pinterest is that you connect with people via photos. And since we all know, photos are more appealing than status updates or tweets, it is the perfect platform for ag to shine! We have the opportunity to let the photos speak for us. Consumers want to see HOW their food is grown, not read a bunch of scientific data of why it is done that way. They want to see it with their own eyes, so this is our golden ticket as farmers and ranchers to show them what we do.
So now its story time!!
Awhile back I was talking with an older rancher about what I do for a living, and how I integrate social media into my job. I tried to explain what Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest were. He sat, listened, and nodded as I talked. But for some reason I got the felling it was going in one ear and out the other. So when I got done talking he began to ask questions, and let me say they were the best questions EVER! "So once you put that stuff on The Facebook, do you mail it?" "When you tweeter, who can see it?" "What's a Pinterest?" And those are just a few from our awesome conversation, but I was presently surprised at his interest in learning about this world of social media, and it gave me hope for my endeavor of putting every farmer on "The Facebook" and getting ranchers to "tweeter".
...that's what she said