Introducing Facebook

This ‘network’ is great for keeping in touch with customers and other farmers, says Greg Miles.

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Facebook is ideal for connecting with friends and family, sharing views with other users, and staying in touch – sometimes minute by minute – with what’s happening in the world. All of which helps to explain why it had more than a billion monthly users as of December 2012. The website has data on exact Facebook users by country, gender and age.

Easy to use
What has added to Facebook’s popularity is its simplicity. You add a photograph or message, click on the ‘Post’ button, and your information is available online immediately to all other Facebook users – or just to those whom you choose. It’s also possible to create family groups or groups with the same interests. For many people, this continual connection with family and friends is what they enjoy most about the medium. To enhance these connections, Facebook also offers features such as birthday and anniversary reminders. Be warned, though! Facebook can be highly addictive and it’s easy to waste an enormous amount of time needlessly chatting.

Boon for farmers
With its ability to reach people so conveniently and share views with users virtually anywhere, Facebook is extremely useful for farmers. At the click of a button, you can be in contact with a farmer anywhere in the world. Gerdie Landman, a dairy farmer from Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape, explains it neatly: “Facebook removes farm boundaries.” Once on line, he explains, you can ask people for advice, keep abreast of current agricultural trends, and see what other farmers are doing. The medium is also a powerful advertising tool. It’s possible for you as a farmer to advertise implements, or whatever else you wish, to a group of trusted people who are exactly the right target market – and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Watch your words

Because it’s so easy to communicate on Facebook, it’s possible to say things that one can deeply regret afterwards. So think twice before pressing that ‘Post’ button – your words could hurt others or get you into trouble. In Facebook’s ‘open forum’ mode, any offensive or racist comments can potentially be read by millions of people – and could even lead to court action. Even within a small interest group, it’s best to avoid personal attacks. Once your feelings are known, it’s very difficult indeed to backtrack!

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View Farmer’s Weekly FB Page online.

Contact Greg Miles at [email protected] with ‘Online Farmer’ in the subject line.