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A deeper look at Canadian #AgTwitter

A deeper look at Canadian #AgTwitter

Twitter Canada reveals #AgTwitter conversations have grown 12% in 2020

Ryan Ridley
Farms.com

Farms.com connected with Michele Austin, Head of Government, Public Policy and Philanthropy at Twitter Canada, to discuss #AgTwitter conversations and how they have changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin found that the pandemic has put a much-deserved spotlight on the Canadian agriculture industry and the individuals who work to keep Canada fed.

“The conversation about agriculture and farming on Twitter in Canada has always been strong, but what we have seen this year is a growing sense of community and support,” explained Austin. “For example, one set of hashtags you will see together is #AgTwitter and #MentalHealth. Many in the agricultural community try to beat the feeling of isolation or anxiety by reaching out on Twitter. The @DoMoreAg account is a fantastic example.”

The Canadian agriculture community has been using the social media platform Twitter for many years. Why? Twitter is a powerful tool that connects end consumers with the farmers who have dedicated their lives to growing the food we eat, all while creating a digital community where Canadian farmers can share their experiences, practices and new ideas.

“Twitter is what’s happening and what people are talking about. Twitter is different than every other platform is that it’s real. Real talk. Real time. The real world. It’s beautiful and powerful and frustrating and sad and weird and hilarious all at the same time,” said Austin.

“And the agricultural community really gets that. Their Tweets tell their story with words, pictures and video with incredible honesty, conviction and humour.”

Canadian #AgTwitter conversations are truly vast – a quick search on Twitter will trigger countless posts that are geared towards sharing information, supporting one another in the ag community, as well as some entertaining posts that are sure to give you a laugh.

“The power of the platform comes straight from our audience — the brave, the bold, and the game-changers. You can describe farmers and ranchers as all of those things.

From the environment to economics, from the weather to memes, the Canadian #AgTwitter community is a perfect example of how Twitter can mobilize audiences in a manner that informs, supports and entertains, sometimes in the very same thread!”

It’s not a new concept for farmers to share daily updates with the ag community via Twitter, but what might be surprising, is that Canadian #AgTwitter conversations have grown by 12% in 2020, compared to mentions of the hashtag from January 1 to August 31 in 2019, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Canadians are coming to Twitter in higher numbers than ever before, and there is no doubt COVID-19 has been a big part of that growth,” explains Austin. “New users have their Twitter app open longer as they seek out information in real time.”

Austin elaborates on the types if discussions farmers are having on Twitter regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the conversation around COVID-19 continues to be strong, people on Twitter are also looking to continue with their lives as best they can. Canadians often pair conversations about COVID-19 with other issues like agriculture or the economy,” stated Austin.

“Amid the confusion and uncertainty around the pandemic, food has been a constant concern. The agriculture industry has been on Twitter sharing how they are working hard under new conditions to keep us fed and watered,” she added.

So, how can we keep the #AgTwitter conversation alive?

“I wish other communities had the same social media skills as those using the #AgTwitter hashtag! #AgTwitter tweets are so good because they are generally shorter (less than 200 characters); include loads of pictures and videos, which users love; and they are authentic."

Austin also shared tips for #AgTwitter users:

  1. Tell us more about yourself in your bio. Use hashtags and location. Help us better understand who you are and what you do.
  2. Be more conversational. Try and find time to engage with people who leave replies. Try using the conversation controls we have introduced. And keep using those hashtags so we can find your conversations and admire your work easily!

With #Harvest20 underway and Thanksgiving approaching, use the #AgTwitter hashtag this weekend to learn about Canada’s diverse agriculture industry – and don’t forget to Thank a Farmer!

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