Technology is a frequent topic in modern agriculture and considered a necessary farming tool. The rest of the world is abuzz about technology tools, but in a very different context than in food production. YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogs, Facebook, social networks, Second Life, video blogs, RSS feeds, and Twitter are some of the popular ones. If you don’t have time to familiarize yourself with all of these, join the crowd. However, you also need to know that the techno tools used by the rest of the world are INFLUENCING public opinion about the tools we use in agriculture.
When will the two worlds converge? We in agriculture are losing the battle misinformation presented with great appeal in the new world of these Web 2.0 technologies. For example;
- The Health Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods
- Meet Your Meat Features Alec Baldwin with 864,000+ views
- Mutant Milk: The Most Dangerous Beverage in the World
- “2008 Farm Music Video of the Year” Positioning for Prop 2 on massive e-mail campaign
- Meatrix I, II, II 1/2
Additional quick research on Facebook shows that PETA has nearly 77,000 members on their Facebook and Greenpeace International is nearing 88,000 members. Facebook is not just for teenagers or college students; over half of the 100 million Facebook users are beyond college age.
So, how’s agriculture educating people with these techno tools? Not well enough, in my opinion. There are efforts being made, such as those featured on the Ag Advocacy videos tab. One of my favorites is IFIC’s “What’s For Lunch” because it’s fun and attention worthy.
You may consider these “tools” a time waster and attributing to rapidly decreasing attention spans. However, you need to know that’s where opinions are being formed and there is a certain power to a community, even when it’s online. We are sadly lacking pieces that appeal to hot buttons or heartstrings to draw positive attention to food production, such as the pieces those listed above. How do you think we can change that?