You may have hard of social media - or your children may have. These are the Web-based sites and tools that allow groups of people to share ideas and communicate. Whether you're talking Facebook, Twitter or even those discussion-based sites like NewAgTalk.com, this is social media. And more farmers are finding value in using the tools in a number of ways.
Now why is a machinery column talking about Twitter (oh you can follow me at Twitter.com/Willie1701a)? In part because major players in all parts of the farm industry are starting to use these tools and you should consider it too. And because I'm part of a special event at two farm shows to help you make sense of this issue.
There are a lot of moving parts, yet as farmers have a little more time in the cab (with great auto-steering systems keeping you on track), they're learning they can search the Web and communicated. The growth of smart phone use is another factor since many of these tools work as well in these handheld devices as they do on that bulk of a desktop computer you keep in your office.
And younger farmers are finding they can not only keep others posted on what's happening on their farms they can engage consumers with information about how commercial agriculture works for them. In a world where everyone feels pressures from outsiders who want to tell you how to farm (even though they know little about your business), social media tools are helping farmers take control of the conversation.
If you've had an interest in these tools - perhaps to enhance landowner communications. Or you've been wondering how they work and how they can be deployed on your farm, there's an opportunity for you to learn during the 2010 Farm Progress Show and at the 2010 Husker Harvest Days event.
Farm Progress has teamed with Slingshot by Raven to help you sort through the social media maze. We'll start with the Farm Progress Show. At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31 and Wednesday, Sept. 1, we'll be holding a short session on social media tools, what they are and how you can put them to use for your farm. The session will be at the VIP tent which is on the south end of 6th Street across from the show office building. You can register for the event by stopping by the Wallaces Farmer Hospitality Tent (it's the big one at 6th and Central). Then come on down and join us on one of those days.
We'll be doing the same presentation for Husker Harvest Days attendees at 2 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 14 and Wednesday Sept. 15 (we'll get you details in August on the location) - you'll need to register at the new hospitality tent there too.
If you're a Twitter user, part of this event include a Tweet Up where Twitter users will identify themselves by their handles and visitors can put a face with the nickname they've been following. For those of you new to the idea, you'll get some insight into this technology as well. And we'll have some fun going through what social media tools you could be using.
In addition to an update on social media, you'll get an exclusive, in-depth look at the new Slingshot system which is a combination of precision ag technologies that allow you a wide range of features (including in-cab high-speed Web access). You'll learn more during this special event.
So mark your calendar, and if you're planning on attending either show consider attending this information-filled event. I'll be leading the social media conversation, but bring along your ideas and questions and we'll help you get answers. Oh and at least one lucky winner could walk out with $100. We'll see you there.