#NewTwitter: Age of The Information Community?

September 22, 2010 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Source: http://www.foodandtechconnect.com/

On Tuesday Twitter unveiled the New Twitter: an information network that allows us to share and discover the latest news and information about the things that matter most to us. That’s right- according to Kevin Thau, Twitter’s VP for business and corporate development, Twitter is NO Longer a SOCIAL NETWORK, as first reported by Read Write Web. This rebranding might very well mark a new era of increased awareness and engagement with information across diverse levels of society. This gives me hope.  But why & about what?

Why:

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I believe that many of the issues in our food system, such as the egg recall, result from lack of coordination, communication, and information across the system. By encouraging us to “discover what’s new in your world,” Twitter is trying to reposition our understanding of the utility that can be gained through improved access, curation, and consumption of the information most relevant to ourselves. While this may simply be marketing, with 90 million tweets a day, I can’t help but feel excited about the possibility of what this kind of large-scale paradigm shift could mean if applied to the food system.

For me, the real power of Twitter is that it makes information dynamic. It goes beyond the mere consumption of news and content. It creates opportunities for interactivity, engagement, and participation through the sharing of information, all regardless of age, race, religion, and economic standing. Twitter is turning the traditional model of top-down information dissemination on its head.

My community is made up of farmers, politicians, information technologists, executives of large corporations, scientists, educators, journalists, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and changemakers from all over the world. I do use twitter as a tool for keeping up to date with news, but even more so, I use it as a tool for connecting with people around common interests

Over the past 7 months, I have been exposed to an entirely new world of knowledge, information, collaborations, and real-life relationships. I have even become active civically, by tweeting with my representatives about issues that I feel passionate about.

So, what does this have to do with Food? A lot!

Twitter is already being leveraged by actors throughout the system in a variety of different ways. The simple platform provides major opportunities for increased accountability, transparency, coordination, and communication. Some of the major ingredients necessary for addressing our challenges.

Here are some examples of the ways in which twitter is being used:

  • #Agchat:  A weekly moderated conversation for farmers on Twitter. The goal is to create an ongoing, open dialogue among the various players interested in agriculture.
  • Increasingly farmers are tweeting from their farm, including sharing photographs and videos.
  • #FoodChat: A monthly moderated conversation on Twitter tailored for consumers, nutrition professionals, and foodies. The conversation provides a dialogue platform between consumers and farmers.
  • Food trucks & mobile street vendors have begun tweeting their location and relaying information to customers.
  • Consumers comment on their restaurant experiences, which creates transparency and accountability.
  • Food Safety updates are being disseminated through 15 different USDA accounts, the CDC, the FDA, and a variety of additional organizations.
  • While not twitter, Indian farmers are utilizing basic mobile technology to access information on seeds, fertilizers, market prices, and weather.

How do you use twitter?

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Entry filed under: Featured Articles.

From Agriculture Proud: The Face Of Food Production USDA Guest Editorial: Thank Our Farmers & Ranchers

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