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Musing about the on-farm influence of social media

There are a few questions running around my head about social media and the rural space – particularly in relation to on-farm practice change.

What is its level of influence?

As a part of this I need to better understand how social media is being used by farmers, agencies, organisations, communities and government and for what purpose. And how is it being evaluated?

A recent ABC story on farmers using social media for their advantage talked about it being digital ‘word of mouth (WOM)’. As a communication channel, WOM has always been one of the most important and most trusted.

So is this trust translated online?

Social media is also being effectively used to build online communities. Take for example AgChatOZ which aims to raise the profile of Australian agriculture by shining a light on the leading issues that affect the industry and the wider community. If you’ve been on twitter at all and followed agricultural discussions, you will have come across its hashtag (#AgChatOZ) at one time or another. Again as an evaluator I would be really interested to see how its conversation has grown over time and what its impact has been.

I’ve also seen words such as empowering and engaging used in relation to social media and rural and remote Australia.

Its ability to connect the isolated and allow their voices to be heard is a big drawcard.

There’s a lot to talk about and I can see many blog topics ahead of me to address the questions that keep popping up and making thought bubbles over my head!

I’m really interested to know what is out there already so please do point me in the direction of any stories, studies, papers etc covering this or related topics. My email is: amy@couttsjr.com.au or find me on twitter: @amyrsamson