Idaho Farm Bureau’s Brave New World Social Networking and You
… Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. –Tennyson
Boise--The Idaho Farm Bureau has embarked on a mission of change. The media world has undergone drastic changes in the past year and a driving force is the concept of social networking. The Farm Bureau has addresses on Blogger, Facebook, My Space and You Tube.
Social networking is the grouping of people into common interest groups over the Internet, much like a virtual small town or a neighborhood. Although social networking is possible in person, it’s a powerful phenomenon that's hard to ignore.
Social network sites are like giant echo chambers that repeat over and over what friends have posted. Given the typical friend overlap in most networks, many in the networks hear the same thing over and over until they become the gospel. It was in the blog sphere echo chambers in 2004 that convinced the media that Howard Dean had more political juice than he actually did.
Online campaigns and e-petitions are only the beginning of what the net can do to politics, argues British Political Commentator Bill Thompson.
Over the last two years we have seen political campaigns start from Internet web announcements rather than the traditional press conference.
Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama launched their campaigns from their websites, while Barack Obama has taken it a step further and is raising millions from his blog site.
Media observers say its a way of getting around the media gate-keepers, and sending out a message unfiltered by biased columnists and reporters.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain uses his blog and Facebook site to bolster credentials while attacking opponent Barrack Obama, he has clearly seen the 'social networking' light and is working hard to ensure that he speaks directly to the wired world.
Some facts can no longer be ignored by campaigns and political organizations: high fuel costs are keeping members home in record numbers. Social networking sites offer a way to keep members wired and interested and they can do it after the chores are done, and even in their pajamas.
Many Idaho farmers have found fellow farmers and kindred spirits worldwide through blogs and social networks sites like Blogger, My Space, Facebook that share the same values and political views; its an untapped political force, the 21st centuries' sleeping bear.
Activists from radical causes know that the networking sites on the web lets them reach more people, quicker with greater impact than ever imagined before in a compact, shared space on the Internet. The net not only collapses space and time, but ten million people can be reached at the same price as ten people.
Social Media has gripped the entertainment, political and marketing world – yet in traditional fashion, the Agriculture Industry is one of the last ones to catch on. There are more than 72 Million blogs on the Internet, but farmer blogs account for just a fraction of that number; insiders stress that farmers need to join up or get left behind.
Farm Bureau members have the chance to not only impact state politics but US public policy just by blogging or having a Facebook site. A voice is a vote in this new landscape.
“It would be great to have our farmers to not only have a blog and a Facebook account but to upload their videos and have a powerful voice in this new medium,” said Idaho Farm Bureau’s John Thompson.
“Political clout in this new medium is measured by contacts in a social network, this is a political clout issue and we don’t want to be left out. When decisions are made in Washington or the Statehouse in Boise we want lawmakers to consider our viewpoint, we have more than 60-thousand members, can you imagine the roar?" said Farm Bureau's State Broadcast Manager Jake Putnam.
While some say YouTube, Blogger and Facebook are novel, some public relations experts hint at the new frontier. “Don’t fool yourself; there is business value in just about every aspect of social media,” says Mark Jewell of Aggie-Lance.com.
The Idaho Farm Bureau started their online Blog in January of 2008,http://idahofarmbureau.blogspot.com/ they're on YouTube (https://webmail.idfbins.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.youtube.com/user/IDFarmBureau ) for the past two years and Facebook since May (https://webmail.idfbins.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1319980363 )
“If this blog has reached you, post it on your blog site, your Facebook site, add this site and become a bold voice in a new frontier," said Putnam.