Twitter has evolved tremendously since its inception. Sending a tweet is not merely sending a tweet anymore — there are plenty of ways to tweet and interact with others. While sending out a normal tweet may be intriguing to some, there are a couple ways to become more involved in online conversations. Two ways that can allow communities on Twitter to hold conversations and interact are the tweetchat and live tweeting.
The Tweetchat is very useful for having conversations online with other people who are interested in the same topic that you are. In Tweetchats, common hashtags are used to keep the community’s tweets together and organized. Tweetchat.com will autmatically add the hastags you like to the end of a new tweet, which makes things even easier. After you allow the app access to your profile, it will also reload a Twitter search with everyone else who is using that hashtag. It is a realtime way to have conversations, most of which are mediated. Farmers, check out AgChat for more information. When you load up TweetChat.com, fill in #agchat at the text prompt near the top that asks for a hashtag. Now, all of your new tweets will automatically end with #agchat, and you will see a stream of others using the #agchat hastag as well. (Hint: AgChat tweetchats are on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.)
There is also a way to start conversations online, often unmediated: through live tweeting. The concept of live tweeting is simple. You simply tweet the most import items (quotes, text, pictures, video) from a particular event. Live tweeting is essentially citizen journalism. For example, I recently live tweeted the Ohio State University press conference in which they announced Urban Meyer as head coach of the school football team. I was retweeted several times because I was relaying information quickly, in realtime, sometimes ahead of the news sources that were actually sitting in the press room. Live tweeting is an excellent way to get information out there and to start conversations.
In agriculture, several Farmers were live tweeting their harvests. Now, to much of The Public, live tweeting from a combine harvesting corn may not be the most thrilling activity. But still, much of The Public has no clue what harvesting a crop even entails. Live tweeting could make that interesting; it’s the difference between “I harvested my crops today” and “I’m harvesting my crops RIGHT NOW,” with a few pictures added in. Live tweets on behalf of The Farmers can be used for transparency. Live tweeting events in animal agriculture would be very beneficial as well. The Public cares very much for animals. Now, The Farmers can show and tell The Public what’s going on — the real story, as it happens.
Get to your Twitter accounts, Farmers. Take part in an online conversion. See what people are saying about #agriculture, #farming, or #americanfarmers. And the next time your doing something interesting on the farm, see what others have to say about it by live tweeting. There is no such thing as too much transparency. The Farmers need to take advantages of these social media activities to further secure an engaging online community.