August 17, 2015

Social Soil: Twitter

*Welcome to Social Soil - a series of social media posts for farmers. Whether you're a seasoned social media veteran or just trying to start, we want to help farmers with their "ag+advocacy" skills ("AGvocacy") so together we can promote Nebraska corn and agriculture.*

Twitter is a funny beast. When it first came out, people said, “It’s just a fad.” Today, however, Twitter is a different story. It is becoming more popular than Facebook for many demographics, especially youth and millennials. As of the second quarter of 2015, the microblogging service averaged at 304 million monthly active users. At the beginning of the 2014, Twitter had surpassed 255 MAU per quarter.

Many ag groups and individuals are doing a great job on Twitter, using its 140-character limit by maximizing the potential with hashtags, photos and links. “Hashtag??”, you ask?

Yes, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. When you put a # in front of a word, that word becomes linkable and searchable. So you can click directly on that word and it takes you to what everyone else is saying about that topic. For example, if you put a # in front of the word, “water” like #water, it shows you what the Twitterverse (aka, everyone on Twitter) is saying about water. So you might want to get more specific and put #wateruse or #waterefficiency if you’re going to talk about irrigation and the efficiencies you’re seeing.

This allows for short, concise content and the ability to grasp a person’s very short attention span.

CropLife came out with a great list of the 20 must-follow Twitter accounts for agriculture, so if you want valuable agronomic advice, practical tips or breaking news, they’ve got you covered – check them out here. When you see a person's name - or handle - on Twitter, it will start with "@".

A couple of important points to know with Twitter is that any Tweet that you see from someone you follow, you can Retweet. This is basically like forwarding on a message to all of your followers. So whatever you Retweet, the people that follow you will see. You can also Direct Message (or DM) someone that you follow if you wanted to send them a personal message that no one else can see - much like an email. But this too has to be 140 characters.

If you're just getting started with Twitter, we recommend you following the great people on the CropLife list. Then of course follow the Nebraska Corn Board, @NECornBoard, and Nebraska Corn Growers Association, @NeCGA! Then try using Twitter to share what you're doing on your farm or issues that are important to you. Nebraska Corn Board member and Tweeter-Extraordinaire, Brandon Hunnicutt is a great example, be sure to follow him at @cornfedfarmer.

Read other Social Soil posts here!

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