- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith, PhD
What is CYS? Communicating our stories as researchers and educators is essential. Increasingly, this involves digital technologies. CYS consists of interactive webinars hosted by ANR Learning and Development that provide insight about a range of tools and platforms that will advance your work. The series covers a range of communications topics, including: writing blogs for ANR and other platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Hootsuite and more. Throughout the CYS program, you'll learn how to create compelling content, use it effectively and efficiently...and also how to develop a communications strategy that works. In addition to the webinars, online resources supporting CYS are located on the Learning and Development webpage, and one-on-one “consulting” is available from UCCE advisor Rose Hayden-Smith (email@example.com 805.794.1665) to support your efforts.
Positive Communications in 2019: Three Resolutions
Resolution season is upon us. I've got a suggestion for your list: a commitment to a regular communications practice in 2019.
How we extend information and share our story is an area where a couple of resolutions can really pay off. Most of us realize we could do more/should do more in the digital space, but it's often overwhelming. Self-doubt creeps in…is what I'm doing interesting? Do I know enough to do this? It's scary to put your work out there.
Take heart…you're not alone. And take a look at these three tips to help you communicate your ANR story in 2019.
1. Commit to better social media by going back to basics: Begin with the basics of strategy – purpose, audience, and capacity.
What purpose do you want your social media to serve? Do you want to share information, increase awareness, reach new people?
To whom do you want it to appeal (audience)? Who do you follow on social media? Who do you want to follow you? These things will vary depending on your program and clientele, but it's worth sketching out a few notes.
Once you strip things back to those fundamentals - purpose and audience - probe further. Really examine the concept of your ideal client or follower: what do they find interesting? What do they find useful? What are they liking or sharing on social media. Who are they following?
Effective social media is about so much more than projection. Creating a positive communication channel via your Twitter or Instagram account doesn't happen overnight. You need to consider how to cover a spread of relevant content, stay true to your core values, and share your story while remaining mindful and grounded.
The third thing to consider is your capacity. What's realistic for you to do? How much time can you devote to social media? Can you be consistent in posting? Would developing strength on one platform be better than spreading yourself too thinly on several? (There are many ANR academics who follow this strategy). Sometimes, less is more.
Social media has a bad rep for many reasons. Stay in a better space: make your social media feeds a positive, thoughtful, useful, and intellectually challenging place to be - both for your followers and for you. Make sure social media remains a powerful communication tool rather than a place where you feel insecure or inauthentic
2) Commit to a better blogging practice: Blog posts are your opportunity to expand on your story beyond a succinct soundbite or caption.
A good blog is many things: sincere, informative, thought-provoking, challenging, or even entertaining. A blog can be all of these things across a number of different posts - or even in one post! You probably don't need me to extol the benefits of having a relevant, up-to-date blog: they help people find your work in Google searches, allow ideas and messages to develop and build over time, and can assist in cultivating a loyal and engaged following.
And remember, you don't need to have a blog or website to submit a blog post to ANR's website. ANR is developing an “educational pipeline” for academics to share timely information for the public via the ANR website and social media. You can submit a story via this online form https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25898, then Strategic Communications will take it from there to distribute. Make it a resolution to take advantage of this in 2019!
3. Be a lifelong learner: With a series of informative ANR Learning Development webinars coming your way nearly every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., this is one resolution that will be easy to keep! LinkedIn: 1/3/19; Blogging Basics 1/10/19; Instagram: 1/24/19; Facebook: 1/31/19. Creating a Communications Strategy: daily half-hour webinars with “homework” and “office hours” during the week of 2/4-2/8/19. Webinar details at https://ucanr.edu/sites/Professional_Development/Monthly_WebANRs.
Happy New Year!
Rose Hayden-Smith, PhD
UCCE Advisor Digital Communications in Food Systems and Extension Education
- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith
Maybe you have ideas, but aren't sure about the best way to share your story. Penning a blog post for the ANR website? Adapting a blog post for your LinkedIn page? Creating a storymap to illustrate a point? Using social media? Maybe you're already using social media, but want to do more: refine your approach, add a new platform, reach new audiences, etc. Maybe you're affiliated with a program or county office that wants to develop a communications strategy to emphasize your value to stakeholders.
ANR is developing an “educational pipeline” for academics to share timely information for the public via the ANR website and social media. You can submit a story via this online form https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25898, then Strategic Communications will take it from there to distribute.
I can help! I can help you brainstorm ideas about stories, and make suggestions about how to write and target those stories for maximum effectiveness. Are you looking for practical assistance with writing and editing? I'm happy to help you with that, too. Are you considering beginning to use digital platforms (including writing for one of the ANR blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), but are unsure if you should, how you'd go about it, or when to use those communications tools? Call me! I can also help you use the content you create efficiently and effectively across a range of social platforms.
I'll be co-hosting a webinar on blogging on Dec. 6. The webinar is the first in a series of learning opportunities. If you have an interest in exploring any of these topics now, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call me at (805) 794-1665.
I'm happy to help.
Advisor, Digital Communications in Food Systems and Extension Education
Editor, UC Food Observer
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
“There's a massive interest in young people who want to be part of these issues about how one should think about food,” said Rachel Surls, discussing farming for a better food system on a panel with Jenny Ramirez of California Harvesters Inc., and Neil Nagata, president of the San Diego Farm Bureau.
Surls, a UC Cooperative Extension sustainable food systems advisor in Los Angeles County, and Gabriele Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer, joined more than 30 speakers and panelists from the food and agriculture world to discuss “Growing the Food Movement,” at Food Tank's inaugural summit in San Diego on Nov. 14. The event was co-sponsored by the Berry Good Food Foundation, UC ANR and the San Diego Bay Food and Wine Festival.
“We need to reintroduce this type of farming to them [young people]. Storytelling really makes a difference. A lot of them are disengaged and not a part of the conversation,” said Ramirez, who works to improve working conditions for farm workers.
Stressing importance of hearing farmers' voices, Nagata said, "If we don't have farmers, we don't have agriculture."
"I'm excited to be on the 'Farming for a Better Food System' panel, and hope to share how urban farms are strengthening local food systems,” Surls had said before the event. “They are often managed by nonprofit organizations with varied missions, from food justice to job training to youth development. It's exciting to see how these emerging projects around California and the U.S. get everyday Americans in cities and suburbs engaged with farming and food systems."
On the Science, Agriculture and Technology panel, Youtsey discussed how UC ANR and The VINE are working with entrepreneurs to accelerate innovation in rural communities.
Rose Hayden-Smith, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, who encouraged Food Tank to hold a summit in Southern California, live-tweeted the event for UC Food Observer.
The event was live-streamed and the video is archived on Food Tank's YouTube Channel.
The 50th World Agricultural Expo was held Feb. 14-16, 2017, in Tulare. The three-day show was attended by 105,780 people representing 43 states and 71 countries, according to its website. UC ANR participated by hosting a newsmakers event for journalists and sponsoring four booths displaying information about the division's array of research and programs.
At the booths, 4-H members and UC ANR scientists greeted visitors and answered questions. Visitors were invited to take a picture with a UC ANR frame and post it to social media with the hashtag #UCWorldAg to be entered in a contest to win a FitBit.
On the first day of the show, reporters were invited to meet UC ANR scientists, who gave 3-minute descriptions of their research. Rose Hayden-Smith, editor of the UC Food Observer blog, was the emcee. The speakers were as follows:
- Mary Lu Arpaia, UC Cooperative Extension horticulturist, UC Riverside, based at the Kearney REC in Parlier,avocadoes
- Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, based at KREC, automated irrigation systems
- Peggy Lemaux, UCCE plant genetics specialist, UC Berkeley, and Jeff Dahlberg, KREC director and UCCE specialist, plant breeding and genetics, $12.3 million study on sorghum
- Lupita Fábregas, UCCE 4-H Youth Development advisor and assistant director for diversity and expansion, outreach to Latino communities
- Maggi Kelly, UCCE specialist and director of the UC Statewide Informatics and Geographic Information Systems program, UC Berkeley, research using drones
- Doug Parker, director, UC California Institute for Water Resources, drought
- Alireza Pourreza, UCCE agricultural engineering advisor, based at KREC, early detection of huanglongbing disease in citrus
- Leslie Roche, UCCE rangeland management specialist, UC Davis, drought management on rangeland
- Samuel Sandoval Solis, UCCE specialist in water resources, UC Davis, groundwater management
UC ANR and UC Food Observer live-streamed the talks on Facebook Live and on Twitter via Periscope. UC Food Observer's Facebook video of the event has been viewed nearly 5,000 times.
On the second day of the expo, a seminar on the changing role of women in agriculture was presented by VP Glenda Humiston, CDFA secretary Karen Ross and president of American AgriWomen Doris Mold. The speakers noted that women have always been involved in agriculture, but cultural bias often left them feeling that their role was inferior to the roles of male family members. The USDA's next census of agriculture will have questions designed to count women as industry workers even if they might consider their husbands or fathers to be the primary operators of the farm.
Humiston told the audience there are many career opportunities for women in agriculture, not just on the farm. She encouraged the young women and girls in the audience to look for opportunities in allied industries. For career advancement, women can join professional organizations and serve on committees, take advantage of training programs and run for leadership positions.
The panelists suggested that women also identify mentors — both men and women — who can help steer young professional women into successful agricultural careers.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Are you looking for value-added news and commentary on the latest agriculture and food topics? Be sure to visit UCFoodObserver.com. This website is sponsored by the University of California's Global Food Initiative and just celebrated its one-year anniversary.
The blog is written by Rose Hayden-Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County, with assistant editor Teresa O'Connor, who is also a UC Master Gardener.
“From curated news reports to original interviews, you'll find hundreds of news items about everything from food policy and sustainable agriculture to historical perspectives and key cultural trends,” said Hayden-Smith. “You'll also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram as @UCFoodObserver.”
Although UC Food Observer reaches beyond UC for content, it has featured Q & As with Pat Crawford, UC Cooperative Extension specialist with the Nutrition Policy Institute and Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources. The blog recently included a California Agriculture article on the effects of climate change on crops in a post.
Hayden-Smith invites consumers and producers alike to take part in the conversation about how to sustainably and nutritiously feed the world.