Why Social Media?

A few weeks ago, I was reading a newspaper when I read a letter to the editor about the downfall of society occurring at the hands of social media. At first I dismissed it as a lash-out from someone who kept getting rejected from Facebook friends, but then I realized that even I have family members that question the importance of social media. They wonder, “Why?”

Let me explain why it’s important to ME.

1) As a stay-at-home mom, I find myself needing adult interaction. Yet, living on the farm and spending a lot of time at doctor’s appointments and what-not makes it difficult to have actual playdates, coffee breaks and other get-togethers. Through my blog, Facebook and/or Twitter, I can chat with a friend for a minute or two, and feel caught-up in the world.

2) I have met some AMAZING people through social media…and some of them I’ve never seen in person! In fact, one of my dearest friends I met through Twitter, and only met her in person a year ago (she only lives an hour away!). She’s one of my Prairie Mama companions and a true friend, a sounding board, a ball of energy and an amazing mother. She has taught me that quality can mean so much more than quantity…and when we get together with our other Prairie Mama Sarah, we can spend 30 minutes and cover every topic from labor and delivery, to breastfeeding in awkward places, to the role that social media can play in connecting agriculture to the consumer. We may not see each other often enough, but I’m grateful every day that I met her through social media!

Rural mothers...fast friends.

3) I can connect through social media. It’s amazing to see the connections in action. For example…imagine a busy mom in the city, hearing all this garbage about “industrial” ag and how our food isn’t produced in ways that will be sustainable for years to come and how it’s HER fault for not making wiser choices at the market. Since she’s only hearing the story from someone behind a desk a few hundred miles away, what else will she believe? But now, thanks to other means of communication, she can locate a farmer’s market, contact a local grower, or talk to someone who may be hundreds of miles away, but is actually INVOLVED in agriculture, and ask the questions that she has.

She can find out from farms, like ours, that our cattle spend the summer in their pastures, but winter where there’s better protection from the elements; she can talk to farmers that raise pigs, and find out how their barns can be climate-controlled; she can speak with a farmer that raises chickens, and find out how their facilities keep the birds healthy and safe. All of that, without ever having to leave her home. But better yet, she can leave her home knowing a farmer, and can put a face to the product…and she can find a local farm to visit.

She can research the different farming practices, talk to different types of farms, and decide for herself what types of products she wants to provide for her family. She can be an educated consumer…and a connected one.

4) I’m connecting to family members that I had lost touch with…and classmates as well. And in my opinion, anytime you connect with an old friend, it’s a good thing.

5) There is strength in numbers. When I type something, and I know that someone else agrees, or feels strongly enough to disagree, at least I’m able to have those conversations with as many people as I like. And sometimes it’s comforting to know that when you’re going through a tough situation, that others have your back.

I could go on and on about how thankful I am to have these opportunities today…how has social media made a difference in your life?

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5 thoughts on “Why Social Media?

  1. This post just arrived in my email inbox and MADE MY DAY so bright. You are one my truest friends Val and it’s all because of social media. So thankful for you! Now can we please get together soon with Sarah too? Oh and I think we have a road trip coming up? Sweet.
    Social media enhances my rural life because of the relationships. I read this blog post today by Jay Baer though about fake relationships in social media and it really made me think about the REAL relationships I have made online and taken offline…like with you http://bit.ly/pBtsuJ

  2. Living in the country can be solitary. It takes a ton of effort just to schedule any kind of get together with friends. I used to frequent topical forums to have conversations with the outside world but now I use twitter to “meet” like minded people. It is amazing to interact with people from around the country, I otherwise would have never known. And when you meet them in person, you already have a history and friendship developed. It just makes it stronger.

  3. I’ll double down on your list.

    I’ve got more friends in North Dakota now than I thought the state’s population was! LOL! Seriously, I have learned so much from so many through social media and hopefully I’ve done my part to pay it forward. I also have to echo the part you talked about sharing what you know with people who have a genuine interest. And sometimes, we can all put our networks to good use.

    Personally, as someone who has moved a few times, I have friends in every state it seems. Social media made it easier for me to stay in touch with so many friends that I was slowly losing through moves, phone number changes, etc. My Christmas card list continues to be long, but I’m now able to touch base in a way that is easy for so many of us more frequently sharing great excitement around a new baby or express sympathies for a loss.

    This week, I’ve had dear friends in Oklahoma & Texas who had to evacuate their homes due to wildfires. They never would have called or emailed, however, they posted short statuses and it gave me a chance to remind them I’m one of many who would like to help if they knew of anything I could do. The support seems to have helped friends through rough times.

    Thanks for helping me better understand North Dakota!

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