Bringing Back Why We AgVocate

It is easy to get caught up in the numbers, likes, views, rates and excitement of social media. I remember when I first became addicted to Twitter. Every day my husband would arrive home, and the first topic of discussion was the increase in followers. There was a thrill and surge of adrenaline to see those numbers jump higher and higher. I began my Twitter following by highlighting ten Twitter accounts each Monday night. With my main following and focus being in the mommy blogger realm, I would mix things up and add a few agriculture related people into the list each week. The bulk of the features included fellow moms, photographers and home renovation accounts. I had set a high bar of the number of new weekly followers which should be gained by this little project.

We all set expectations for ourselves, our blogs, Facebook farm or fan pages and at times become driven by metrics. When the metric benchmarks aren’t achieved we become frustrated or discouraged. Social media then potentially becomes a numbers game. And, I really got lost in focusing on those numbers rather than who those followers were. It was one of my first social media lessons on the never ending learning curve.

The lesson I have learned for myself is that social media should never be about the numbers but the connections and the impacts you make, big or small. I won’t lie, the increase in followers is still a confidence shot in the arm. Its just that today, I get the shot while also taking a spoonful of analysis to determine if those followers are my target audience – people outside of agriculture.

Some may find success in their stats or metrics expectations. However, before many “agvocates” realize it, we can forget why we began advocating for agriculture, telling our stories or agvocating, whichever descriptor you prefer. I’m no different. I was derailed and lost sight of why I was doing all of this social media stuff. Its also easy to get caught up in meeting the expectations of what others think you should be accomplishing in your advocacy journey. In either case, you cannot let that detract you from your original goal of AgVocacy.

The hardcore truth is that there’s a high likelihood that at some point we have all fallen to the numbers and expectations. If you don’t think that you have, I challenge you to sit down and review your path from beginning to present.

In an effort to bring the ‘why’ back to advocating, the AgChat Foundation began the “Why Do I AgVocate?” series in the spring of 2015. It is an opportunity for you to review your path, share your challenges, refocus and set goals for the future.

Can we share your why? Send us an email at comm@agchat.org for additional information.

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written by Jenny Schweigert, executive director