Sanctification in Daily Work
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Thoughts on Social Media

Social media platforms have been an integral part of my business and the work I do since they were started. It was easy to see the potential for communicating on a self-publishing platform. However, it took several years to introduce social media and that potential into the business sector I’m involved in, Agriculture. I remember doing lots of public speaking, presentations, consultations and training for subjects like best practices. There was a lot of skepticism and fear about being “personally” public and not sort of hiding behind a corporate face.

That has all changed. Today there are many, many farmers using these platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more) to tell their story about how they farm, what takes place on their farms, how they are embracing new technology for better efficiency and sustainability. Agribusinesses and member organizations are doing the same.

For some time this seemed to be a pretty good place to be for communicating to an internal and external audience. However, today it has, IMO, become a cesspool of abuse to feed personal egos and attack and destroy those who don’t agree with you.

Here’s an excerpt from Pope Francis’ message on World Communications Day this year that contrasts the good potential with the bad reality.

We need to recognize how social networks, on the one hand, help us to better connect, rediscover, and assist one another, but on the other, lend themselves to the manipulation of personal data, aimed at obtaining political or economic advantages, without due respect for the person and his or her rights. Statistics show that among young people one in four is involved in episodes of cyberbullying.

I have struggled with the distaste of all the negative and hateful information and messages that bombard you if you are frequently checking social media channels, which I have to do to stay current and relevant in my industry. Outlandish lies and “fake news” is pervasive, even within the agricultural and food industry. The worst garbage comes from activists who seem to be acting more out of self gain than actually believing in their mission and goals.

As bad as it is in the online conversation, which is how I’ve described social media from the start, it is still a mechanism for good. I’ve just had to learn to ignore the noise from the people who are abusing the system and other people involved in it. Since I think of it as a conversation I have had to realize that my messages may be falling on deaf ears but that happens even in face to face conversation. I may never know the positive effects of publishing good, helpful content and not giving in to arguments and the bullies.

So, I am going to try to write here more. Besides the extra time it takes I will admit to not wanting to deal with the critics. In meditation I have found that there is no good reason not to make use of social media for a very personal channel to communicate. I hope that I can stick to this resolution.

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