Twitter has been my closest friend this past week. I’ve spent countless hours on it, though I wouldn’t say those hours have been wasted. I’ve followed a ton of new people, almost all of whom are involved in agriculture, and every time I log on my timeline is filled with farming tweets. A lot of them have been #farm365 tweets, which is absolutely incredible! Andrew Campbell’s project (@FreshAirFarmer) has taken off. I look forward to getting inside looks into Canadian farms every day.
This past weekend, at the OAC Leadership Conference, there was a lot of talk about farming and social media. Our speakers during the day – Greg Peterson, Bernard Tobin, and Stefanie Nagelschmitz – were each asked about how we can advocate for agriculture more effectively. #farm365 is a great start, but it’s been “hijacked”. Animal rights activists have taken over the hashtag and are fighting against farming. What started out as an honest way to show Twitter what a real farm looks like has turned into an uphill battle. Every day I see the farmers that I follow defending their way of life, but sometimes it doesn’t always work.
Each speaker at the conference had this to say about the hashtag hijacking: take agriculture back into your own hands. Family farms are the core of Canadian agriculture. Tell your personal story – show the world what your farm is really like. Positive messages go far, so remember that if someone is accusing you of mistreatment of animals. Respond intelligently and positively. Sometimes, your accuser simply doesn’t know the truth, so start a conversation to teach them!
Social media allows us to educate the public while sitting at our desk. Make sure what you’re saying is teaching people, not just telling them. Take back agriculture on social media, and show the world what real Canadian ag is like!
Emma — The Suburban Aggie
PS, check out #OACLead15 for tweets from the conference!