For agriculture, Twitter/Google deal on search does not a conversation make

Tools are just toolsI just read Whole New (Search) World from Colorado Farm Bureau. Great post about how agriculture can use social and new media tools to move agricultural conversations, ideas, and actions.

While the Twitter/Google deal on real time search is very helpful to making information more widely available, search by itself does not a conversation make. Twitter, Google, Facebook, etc are just tools. Tools help people effect change, evoke action, make things happen; but tools by and of themselves do nothing. I have this great set of tools in my garage but they are never going to make that neat book shelf I need; only a person with talent and time will do it.

All that "successfully influence the conversation on Twitter" means is that that an ag related term or topic is getting used a lot on Twitter. What we should be asking is "Is influencing the conversation on Twitter making a difference in our agricultural indsutry goals?". What measures beyond trending topics should be monitored? Great example: Are the social and new media tools being used increasing the awareness of how food is produced?

Those in agriculture who want to advance a cause, promote and idea, or take action should use tools in conjunction with other efforts; lecture circuits, opportunities to talk with people in real space, providing usable information and knowledge in multiple forms, and/or having coffee with supporters and distractors. Key to this is have a plan with tools and measure outcomes over time. This will help you evaluate if you are going in direction you desire.

Actions to consider:
  • Make a plan with measurable goals. See Measuring Social Media Efforts.
  • Learn how the tools work and practice regularly.
  • Pick your tools and don't chase the latest "cool thing". See Don't Keep Up With Social Technology.
  • Meet with other people in and out of the agricultural industry to see how they are using tools to advance a cause.