HAVING spoken to those at the forefront of social media use within agriculture over the past week, there is one message I have been hearing loud and clear.
The conversation is being had regardless of whether we are involved or not.
Social media around agriculture is happening and the industry can either use it to its advantage, or let others use it to their disadvantage.
Plenty of people want to tell your story, but no one tells it as well as you do.
These are all messages from industry members who are using social media to advocate for agriculture, better known as agvocates.
And while I have also heard some scepticism about social media, the results speak for themselves – has anyone seen an Animals Australia bag sold at Coles recently?
It may be true that social media has been used against agriculture in the past, but this will only continue to happen if the industry is not involved and representing itself.
It is also true that most involved in the industry don't have the time to add another job to their heavy workload. And social media can be time consuming.
But think of all those 'water-cooler' conversations our industry rarely gets to have due to most offices being based in a tractor cab, stock yards or the kitchen bench.
Just yesterday I tuned into the US AgChat @agchat conversation on Twitter, connecting with agvocates who were discussing how to attract and retain young people in agriculture.
It's an issue that Australia also faces, and there is always much to be learnt from our counterparts, wherever they may be situated in the world.
Social media is not the silver bullet of promoting and improving the perception of Australian agriculture.
But it does play an important role in it, especially when it is integrated with more established methods of communications we know so well.
Social media may not be for everyone, but those out there giving it a crack are doing their bit for Australian agriculture.
And they are more than willing to help you get on board – just tweet them!