As well as using social media to engage and build relationships with your audiences – it can be very useful as a listening post. While it might be interesting for project/program managers to understand what is being said online about relevant topics, this is probably more important for larger organisations and bodies who should be on top of what is being talked about online. Particularly those interested and impacted on by sensitive subjects.
There are so many ways to collect data in today’s online world that simply weren’t available even 10 years ago. Information can now be collated in many different ways from even the remotest locations.
Observation is a data collection method that has been around for a while. One example of this methodology is the use of photos taken at regular intervals to record changes of land use over time. A particularly useful method for Natural Resource Management (NRM) projects focusing on land rehabilitation.
In my experience social media as a communication channel can still feel overwhelming to many people. So taking the next step and thinking about how to meaningfully evaluate the use of it can almost feel too much of a mystery – which often means it doesn’t happen!
However, the more I’ve worked with social media evaluation the less mysterious I think it is. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers that get thrown around like – we reached 20 million people with our tweet. To that I would say great, what does that number mean and so what?! (And there’s a whole other conversation to be had around how reach numbers are derived and what reach actually means.)
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?
While writing this blog I thought how nice it was to feel the work cogs turning again and to read something other than parenting 101 blogs. Not recommended by the way, they have a frightening habit of making you feel like you’re doing it all wrong! In my short life as a mum (all nine months of it) I’ve learned that there is no perfect way to do anything but as long as you and baby are happy and thriving – you’re doing it right!