A couple of weeks ago, Twitter started making animal sounds. First, people from all over the world joined together to make Twitter Moo and then this past Sunday, they made it Oink. Confused? Let me explain….
Three farmers from different areas of the country, who have never met in person, put their heads together and made a plan. First, Will Gilmer, a dairy farmer from Alabama, began using the #Moo hash tag in his twitter posts to encouraging people to enjoy dairy products and support dairy farmers. Then, Mike Haley, a farmer from Ohio, made a birthday wish- to see Moo appear in the Trending Topics (popular topics) of Twitter. Lastly, Ray Prock, a California dairy farmer, completed the plan by suggesting that getting Moo to trend would call attention to and make people aware of the crisis that dairy industry is currently in. With the help from people all over the world, Moo did become one of the ten most popular topics on Twitter that day. “We got it to trend for eight hours, which is huge,” Ray Prock said.
A few weeks later, the grassroots effort began again, this time to try and get Oink to trend in support of pork farmers and to show that pork is safe to eat. The pork industry took a major hit when then media hysteria broke out over “swine flu.” The flu was later correctly labeled H1N1, but not before the pork industry took a devastating blow. Again people from across the world joined forces and managed to get Oink to trend has high as number two on the Twitter Trending Topic.
Prock and the rest of the people involved with the grassroots effort were very pleased with the results. “A lot of Trending Topics are usually marketing campaigns, or offering something for free. We were able to get something to trend that spread information and knowledge…. that’s huge.”
While getting Twitter to Oink and Moo was a huge accomplishment, there is still more work to be done. Prock urges other people involved in agriculture to get involved with social media to spread the word about what is really going on in agriculture. “As farmers, social media allows us to educate the public on what we actually do, where food comes from, and how we care for our animals,” Prock said.
For all of you out there who are putting off getting involved in social media, don’t wait another minute. Don’t be intimidated, just start small and get involved. People are more than willing to help explain things to you and help you become accustomed to the sites. Ask questions, start conversations, and be willing to learn.
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