Social media engagement can go a long way in correcting some of the agricultural misinformation out there and help cast the industry in a better light. The influence that social media can have on public opinion has become even more pronounced over the past five years. Overcoming the negativity towards agriculture is going to require participation in replacing those opinions with positive ones.
“Research has shown that for every one negative article, particularly about agriculture, it’s going to take four positive articles – something people see – to counteract and just get back to even,” said Shannon Douglass, First Vice President of California Farm Bureau Federation. “It’s an uphill battle but it’s one we can really do thanks to social media.”
Not everyone is comfortable with telling their own agricultural stories online. For those that are not overly involved in social media engagement, Douglass noted that simply sharing a positive story about agriculture that was created by someone else can have be impactful.
“Sharing stories from a great blogger or sharing an article from a newspaper that was really positive about agriculture; that is an important positive feedback loop that we want to keep. You sharing that can be incredibly valuable and it’s really simple, it’ll just take a minute of your time,” said Douglass.
Engaging in online forums can also help correct some of the misconceptions that the general public may have about agricultural production. Media outlets may not always have the insight or necessary staff to cover agriculture from a well-rounded point of view. Connecting with members of the local media online can help guide the narrative and create a more positive outlook on agriculture.
“You can absolutely be interacting with the people who are driving these stories on social media as well as promoting, frankly, the great work that they’re doing and sharing that with others,” Douglass noted. “And reporters want positive stories, so it’s really helpful when you have something great to share; they’re often hungry for those types of stories.”
Listen to the interview below.