A Social Media Gathering

A few weeks ago, I attended the annual Ag Media Summit. For those unfamiliar, this event is the yearly gathering of agricultural editors and reporters, complete with seminars on such topics as improving your writing skills and posting stories online.

Another component of the Summit is the InfoExpo, where companies that cater to agriculture have representatives on-hand to talk with the assembled trade editors on whatever topics/products they wish to discuss. From my standpoint, this makes the show unique because the folks I’m interviewing are there specifically to see me, with none of the looking-over-my-shoulder-for-a-potential-customer that typically occurs at other industry trade events.

At the 2010 Ag Media Summit, however, I was surprised when, after completing my lists of questions to exhibitors, many of them asked me a series of questions. These had to do with my use of social media and the Internet. The final question from most was how old I was.

On the last day of the event, I asked one of the exhibitors that had quizzed me previously what they had found out. “Well,” said the company representative, “social media usage for sites such as Facebook and Twitter is common among editors 25 years old or younger. But for older editors like yourself, the percentages just aren’t that high – less than 10% regularly use them.”

This is so true. I have a Facebook account, but I only tend to update it once a month or so. But my younger friends (those under the age of 35 or so) make updates to theirs a few times each day.

What’s clear from this exercise at the Summit is that many companies within the ag market are still trying to gauge just how important social media is to today’s ag editors and, by extension, their target audiences. In a few months, I expect the findings of these companies will help shape how they ultimately utilize such sites to spread their own messages.

Maybe I need to start checking my Facebook account more often . . .

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