Starting in on social media is easy – really. Most people have an e-mail address, but if you don’t, start there. You can get a free e-mail account at http://www.yahoo.com or http://www.gmail.com (and many other places). Once you’ve signed up there, you’re halfway to becoming socially active.

Facebook

Facebook is free, and claims it always will be. Go to www.facebook.comand it will bring you to the signup page. You enter your name, e-mail, birthday and choose a password and you’re in. Then it’s up to you how active you want to be. You can “friend” people and “like” ag-friendly (or not-so-friendly) pages to follow what they’re saying. At first, just look around. Do some searches, see what’s out there. Then, if you feel up to it, update your status (what’s on your mind?).

Twitter

Twitter is also free. Go to www.twitter.com, and you’ll see a yellow button that says “Sign Up.” Click on that and enter your name, e-mail and choose a password. You’ll also choose a “handle.” That will be what followers and others on Twitter see you as; the name associated with your “tweets.” Once that information is in, you can start tweeting. Twitter limits you to 140 characters (including any spaces).

You can “follow” people on Twitter, and their tweets will appear in a feed to you. You can “retweet” their posts with the click of a button, or tweet your own.

If you prefer, search Twitter using the hash tag to find information on specific topics such as: #corn, #ethanol, #atrazine, etc. Go to http://www.twitter.com/search and put in some terms to see what people are saying.

YouTube

Do you have a pocket-sized video camera or video capabilities on your cell phone? If so, take advantage of YouTube; again, a free tool. Go to www.youtube.comto create an account (look in the upper right corner). You’ll choose your username (just like on Twitter), and provide your e-mail address and other simple info, then you’ll be ready to upload your videos. Following simple directions from YouTube, you can be online in minutes. Take videos of harvest, planting, scouting or just of you telling your ag story.

So, sign up. Lurk around, read messages, posts and tweets. Then speak up. Say your piece, post your video and share your information. An investment of even 15 minutes can make a huge impact. If you’re still unsure of social media, also check out http://www.agchat.org. There’s a plethora of information on using social media.

You can find Corn & Soybean Digest online at www.youtube.com/cornsoybeandigest, http://www.twitter.com/csdigest, http://www.facebook.com (search Corn & Soybean Digest) or at http://www.csdigest.com or http://www.letstalkag.com.

October 2010