By Catherine Merlo
Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or your own blog, today's social media offer many opportunities to promote the dairy industry, according to presenters at World Dairy Expo.
"Social media are taking those of us in dairy and connecting us with consumers,” says Jolene Griffin, manager of industry communication for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which sponsored the educational seminar, "Using Popular Media to Tell Dairy Farming's Story.”
Six in 10 Americans younger than 30 get their news online today, Griffin says. Facebook has 300 milllion users and is the world's seventh most popular Web site. YouTube has 20 hours of video loaded every minute of every day. Twitter counts 17 million users.
Using social media provides an opportunity for dairy producers and the industry to counter the negative attacks of groups like PETA, the Humane Society of the United States and others, who all succesfully use social media.
DMI launched a Web site earlier this year, www.dairyfarmingtoday.org, to use social media to mobilize the dairy industry. It gives producers access to the latest information about social media trends and tools. It also offers innovative ideas for connection through social media.
If you do enter the world of social media, remember not to say anything you wouldn't want to appear in a newspaper article or someone else's blog, Griffin says. Moreover, if you join an online discussion, be respectful and polite.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.