When I first set up this blog, I created a page entitled ‘Why Farmers Should Blog’ with the various reasons for doing so and I still believe they should. However, being a realist, I know that many farmers haven’t the time for blogging or perhaps they believe they wouldn’t be able to write or they just don’t fancy the idea of it.
But – all farmers should tweet! Given the recent upheaval in farming with the harsh spring on top of a terrible 2012, farmers need support from other farmers – here’s all my reasons for why farmers should tweet and the instructions for how to set yourself up on twitter are at the bottom of the page.
According to this article in The Telegraph, farmers are using social media to promote their businesses and boost profits.
Why Farmers Should Tweet
- Prevent Isolation – Farmers may go for a number of days without ‘seeing a sinner’ apart from their own family. Twitter gives people the opportunity to chat online.
- Time – At busy times of the year, farmers may not have the time or be inclined to head to their nearest IFA or ICA or Macra meeting. Twitter is ‘take it or leave it’, you can tune in and out of it as the mood takes you or time allowing.
- Share Knowledge / Ask Questions – Many farmers on twitter are going to be in the same boat – practising grass measuring, debating what fertiliser to spread, condition scores of cows, what AI bulls to use – it’s a great place to ask questions and find answers
— Zwartbles Ireland (@ZwartblesIE) April 19, 2013
- Camaderie – Twitter can provide scope for friendship and camaderie too. Just like we #farmerettes who all met on twitter, are meeting up for a tweet up shortly, there is no reason why like-minded farmers can’t meet up too – would be something different to your usual IFA meeting.
- Suppport and Brand Awareness – So many UK and USA farmers are on twitter and many of them were offering support to each other during the heavy recent snowfalls as well as increasing awareness amongst non-farming folk about everything to do with farming. Irish farmers could do the same, many farmers are really struggling at the moment – hungry cattle, mounting bills and very little grass. Chatting on twitter just might help. The IFA has organised ‘walk and talk’ events that are going to take place in May and if walking and talking can help, then I believe tweeting can too.
- Educational – There’s a tweet chat every Wednesday night in Ireland at 9pm using the hashtag #agchatirl – the @Agchatirl account decided on the topics and the numbers of farmers contributing and discussing can vary but it is a great way to get to know other farmers as well as learning about something farming-related.
- Easy – it is so easy to tweet now especially if you have a smart phone. If you feel you are isolated or just want to socialise more with like-minded people who have an interest in farming – set up a twitter account.
How To Get Started On Twitter
- Go to http://www.twitter.com using your computer or laptop (easier to set up using laptop than on the phone I think)
- Create an account (you will need an email address and a password)
- Add a picture/ avatar. You can add a picture of yourself or many farmers will upload a picture of their animals.
- Add details such as your town, your bio (a short description of what you do e.g. Cattle farmer Co. Louth, Belgian Blue herd, love hurling and F1,)
- You will often have to follow others and have your account authorised before you can tweet. Twitter will provide suggestions of people for you to follow. You may have to click a link in an email before you can go any further.
How Twitter Works
- A tweet is 140 characters – it can be a statement, a question, a comment – whatever you feel like saying to the world.
- If you want to use twitter on your smartphone, download the twitter app and sign in – makes tweeting much easier.
- Twitter works by you following others and people following you.
- If you wish to send someone a tweet, you type in @username e.g. @irishfarmerette if you wanted to send me a tweet. This isn’t a private tweet – it is seen by anyone who looks at your tweets and any of those who are following the sender and the receiver.
@irishfarmerette she is beautiful
— Caragh Nurseries (@CaraghNurseries) April 17, 2013
- RT – means retweet which means that if someone retweets one of your tweets, there is the potential for any of their followers to see it. People retweet when they see a tweet they wish to share with their followers.
— Judi Graff (@farmnwife) April 18, 2013
- Hashtags – hashtags are used to bring attention to a particular topic, to promote an event, to unite people over a particular issue or to include people in a tweetchat. For example, you may have seen that the hashtag for the Vincent Browne programme is #vinb. Once the hashtag is clicked, everyone can see all the tweets that include that hashtag. The #agchatirl is used every Wednesday evening to unite farmers around an agricultural topic. I organise a blogging topic tweetchat every second Thursday evening and use the hashtag #blogchatIE
5th and final question: What is the best way to bring conservation concerns and farming interest together into dialogue #agchatirl
— AgChat IRL (@AgChatIRL) April 17, 2013
- DM – a DM is a direct message meaning it is private. You can only send someone a DM if they are following you. Beware of DMs that tell you that you look funny or silly in a photograph or video, they are spam and if you click on them, your account may be hacked.
If you have any questions or comments to make regarding farmers using twitter, I’d love to hear them,
Update: We are now teaching online social media courses which means that you can learn how to use twitter, and other social media tools such as blogging and pinterest, from the comfort of your own home. All you need is an email address really. Details of all our courses are available at We Teach Social.