Step beyond your comfort zone

Just over a year ago I started out on a new journey into the unknown universe called “Social Media”. Through previous employment, I had some experience with traditional media and enjoyed it. However, the whole social media craze was unknown to me. I knew some people who spent a lot of time on a platform commonly refer to as “Crackbook,” but I wasn’t interested in that at all. The idea of sharing every thought and activity with others was out of my comfort zone and I really didn’t understand the purpose.

When I was introduced to Twitter, I initially felt the same thing, but quickly saw a difference with this platform. I took some time to figure it out, learn how to use it and try to determine if there was any reason for me to be involved. Once I realized the value of being a part of the “conversation”, I saw the benefits of getting the agriculture message out and being transparent and, to put it simply, I was hooked.

In the summer of 2010 I heard about the 2010 AgChat Foundation Conference, or #ACFC10, while on Twitter. The participants were tweeting all the great information they were learning! I wished I were there, but wasn’t sure if there a value to me.

Fast-forward one year… Due to our active social media presence and because it’s relatively unknown in our area, my lovely wife and I have been approached to help others understand the value of social media to local businesses. We have started educating people on using social media tools, such as Twitter, to the benefit of their business or issue they are advocating for. People were looking to us for direction and ideas on how to maximize this tool for advocating about individual issues.

This time when the call for the #ACFC11 registration came up, I jumped at the chance. If people are looking to you for answers on a subject, you need to keep educating yourself to stay fresh and utilize the new opportunities out there. I am hoping that #ACFC11 will be able to provide me with the information to learn what I currently don’t know, such as blogging, YouTube, SEO, etc. With the amazing group of people that will be attending, I hope to learn from their stories, to hear what they feel works and what is best to avoid. I view #ACFC11 as an opportunity to learn, share, socialize, network and meet some great agvocates for agriculture in North America – in real life.

As a farmer, I find that we can get comfortable in our isolated fields, barns or even the boardrooms of our industry, but I see that we need to leave our secluded lifestyle to get our message out to our consumers. I have left my comfort zone by using social media tools and I hope that #ACFC11 will make me even more comfortable.

How far would you leave your comfort zone to get your message out?

Wayne Black is a cash crop farmer from Ontario, Canada with a passion for agriculture. He works with his father on the original family farm established prior to 1867. He is an avid agvocate for the agriculture industry through both social media and with his involvement with various agriculture groups. He is on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Agriculture Adaptation Council. Most recently he has been accepted into Class 14 of @AALP. Locally he is engaged with various committees working on economic development opportunities and sustainability efforts. In his spare time he enjoys life with his wonderful wife and three amazing children. You can find Wayne on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.

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