- Author: Jennifer Rindahl
The above tweet that the “Internet today is like Ag Extension Service was,” was surely not meant to defame the good people currently working in cooperative extension, but if you heard the chirp of a canary I’m glad.
Cooperative Extension will celebrate it’s centennial in 2014. This is a fabulous opportunity to share our stories about the numerous problems we’ve solved that have helped California, the nation and the world, while discussing the new challenges that await us in a rapidly changing global society.
Currently, many of you are hard at work to bring the best science to bear solving problems related to climate change, malnutrition, invasive pests & diseases, and youth development amongst many others, all vitally necessary to creating a healthy community.
At the same time, millions of people are forgoing the hard work of data collection and analysis and simply setting up shop on the Internet hawking the worst possible ‘science’ as the answer to people’s problems. They’re the 21st century version of the snake oil salesmen.
And that’s a big problem for the average person attempting to wade through this morass of misinformation. Rather than too little information, there’s simply too much, and figuring out who to trust is next to impossible.
Well that’s not entirely correct. Research shows that people trust Cooperative Extension program representatives, advisors and specialists – they trust you.
Unfortunately, if you’re not on the Internet, utilizing the tools of social media to blog, Facebook, tweet, and make your knowledge available for the person desperately Googling nutrition at 2:00am after polishing off a bowl of ice cream, who knows what fad diet they’ll be attempting the next day? I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be what our nutrition advisors would recommend.
So – here’s the plan to make the leap and commit to an hour a week of social media interaction.
- Spend 30 minutes writing a blog post every Monday.
- Spend 5 minutes on Twitter every morning. Send 1-2 Tweets, and respond to any replies or mentions.
- Link your Twitter to your Facebook account.
- Spend 5 minutes on Facebook every Friday afternoon and respond to any comments/likes.