Farming has become an avid adopter of social media. Maybe it isn't surprising given its social draw for farmers who work on their own. Nor given that smartphones are just as pervasive in farming as they are in other communities and maybe it's not surprising because agriculturalists are increasingly using their 'handhelds' for a host of other business-related activities.
The British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) held a social media conference Twitter in the Farmyard (#twitterinthefarmyard) last week. The session was run by Simon Haley and Jill Scrivener from Reading Agricultural Consultants. Simon is also one of the people behind #AgriChatUK - an increasingly popular Twitter forum for farming debate.
The conference went down well with the 55 people attending in person and further social media traction generated - with 1,568 Tweets sent, reaching 356,975 Twitter accounts and creating 2,411,914 impressions.
Simon Haley then followed this event by hosting an #AgriChatUK session on twitter the day after to explore the value of social media for the rural industries. As a co-founder of the UK’s largest farming discussion on Twitter, Simon brought in guests from the USA and Australia to share their experiences of using SM within agriculture in their respective countries.
AgriChatUK happens every week on a Thursday evening, and for this discussion, 815 tweets from 136 participants were seen in the 2 hours between 8pm and 10pm. Both Defra and the Shadow Farming Minister also joined in the discussion, allowing a perfect example of the reach of such technology in the grasp of farmers to engage with policy makers and industry leaders on such a variety of issues.
To see an archive summary of the day’s tweets:
I agree with @JillScrivener, probably one of the best #twitterinthefarmyard quotes of the day
was from @No1FarmerJake "SM is like toothpaste - once it's out you can't put it back in"
Simon Haley and Johann Tasker will be running a Social Media workshop on as one of the Professional Development Workshops at the 2014 Congress. For more details on the Congress go to www.ifaj2014.com