So what does Twitter have to do with farming?

April 21, 2010 at 2:31 am 2 comments

If you attended Agriculture’s Promise over the last couple of days, you probably heard a lot of talk about NYFEA’s new social sites.  While many of you said you were on Facebook, some of you had a few questions about Twitter & Ning.  This blog post will cover the benefits of using Twitter for young farmers.  Read on!

What can you do with Twitter?

Twitter’s gotten a bad rap as a site where people push out trivial information that no one cares about or listens to.  In reality, Twitter offers a variety of valuable information for young farmers.  For example, you can:

  • Stay on top of the latest & greatest in agricultures.  Agricultural journalists are all over Twitter and keep you up-to-date on the latest news in one place.  Other Ag tweeps (Twitter + Peeps = Tweeps) post commentary alongside news or spotlight new technology for farmers.  Find information to set you apart in interviews, internships, or in class, or use the information to strengthen your farm activities.
  • Find jobs.  Certain twitter profiles are dedicated entirely to agriculture jobs.  Some companies also send out job postings on Twitter.  Use Twitter to stay on top of job postings on a daily basis.
  • Network.  There are a lot of passionate, innovative, intelligent agriculture folks on Twitter.  They’re friendly & they enjoy connecting with others.  They also name networking as one of the most essential parts of breaking into the agricultural industry.  Get to know them on Twitter, and they may just be your “foot in the door” down the road.
  • Participate in #AgChatAgChat is a weekly Twitter conversation that happens on Tuesday nights from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.  Over 200 agriculture professionals log on Twitter, search for the hashtag (or descriptive word or phrase that is added to Tweets to show what topic they fall under) #agchat, and wait for a moderator to ask questions about different issues in the industry.  After each question, the ag professionals tweet their answers with the hashtag #agchat and participate in the conversation.  This enhances networking, knowledge, and technical skills.
  • Have fun!  There are other interesting ways to use Twitter including following your favorite author or celebrity, tweeting interesting quotes or statistics, or just keeping up with your friends.

Twitter 101

  • Twitter is a microblogging social site that lets users post news, updates, questions, or thoughts in 140 characters or less.  Users can follow interesting Tweeters and other Tweeters can follow you if they enjoy your posts.
  • Tweets are public, so read what you’re going to post twice before sending it out on the Twitterverse.  Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want an employer or your grandmother to see, because they can easily find it.
  • To create a Twitter account, go to http://www.twitter.com and choose to sign up.  They will ask for your first and last name and a username (which will become your personal Twitter URL address.  For example, ours is http://www.twitter.com/NYFEA.  There are options to add your location, website, and a short description of yourself as well.
    • Twitter will then bring you to a categorized list of users so you can find interesting accounts to follow.  You can also search for people you know if you’d like to follow them.
    • You can customize your Twitter profile under the settings section.  Change your background or upload your own photo as a background for a more customized look.
    • To talk to someone else on Twitter, simply put @ before their username.  If you wanted to send a post publicly to the NYFEA, you would add @NYFEA in front of your message.  To find people who are talking to or about you, visit your “Mentions” page.
    • To join a conversation on Twitter, use hashtags.  Hashtags begin with # and are followed with a description of the topic.  You’ll often see a lot of tweets from NYFEA under the hashtags #ag or #farmers.
    • You can privately direct message Twitter followers that also follow you.  To do this, click “Messages” and type their username into the “To” box. 
    • You can Retweet messages that you think others would find interesting.  There are two ways to do this.
      • The original way to retweet someone involves post RT @(their username) and then posting their original tweet.  This lets your followers clearly know that you are the one retweeting them.
      • Twitter also allows you to click the “Retweet” button under someone’s post. This posts their post on your page.

So there you go – Twitter basics.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this blog post, write on our Facebook wall, start a discussion on Ning, or mention or message us on Twitter!
Check back tomorrow for the run-down on Ning!

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