Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can I Join the Battle?

Join the Battle. Enter the fray. Get involved.

Megan is, like most young people today, very comfortable with technology. She blogs on several locations, and is involved several other social networking sites. Much of this battle is going to be fought online, and us old folks are showing up late to the party. But like I told someone a few years back, just because I’m a field rep for QLF does not mean I’m unable to learn something new.

Today’s social media is a crazy place that moves at the speed of light. Literally. FIber Optics, high speed connections,  blackberrys,  wireless. We are figuring out how to use this stuff for work, and our kids would have trouble functioning without it.

There are groups on the internet strictly for the exchange of ideas regarding groups like PETA, HSUS, even the Animal Liberation Front. Finding these groups can be a little trial and error, especially since some of the animal welfare groups, as well as some of the groups on the ag side, don’t always allow discenting views.  You can find them on facebook, twitter, etc.  The discussions can get a bit frustrating at times because the information isn’t always correct, anywhere from slightly to incredibly biased (both ways), and some folks aren’t always very nice. But the exchange can be addicting, fascinating and thought provoking.

So like I asked in the opening line, “want to join the fray?”.  Come on in, the water is fine, full of sharks maybe, but pretty fine. I’ve been joining in a few of the conversations, and while fun, sometimes it can get a little discouraging.

But for those of you still interested, here are a few of my tips.

Be respectful. While the temptation to call someone any idiot is always there, ( and you may want to)the anonymity of the internet never gives anyone the right to be disrespectful. This is especially true when our comments will be taken as a representation of the industry.

Have your facts ready and correct. Some sources come with biases, be aware of that and be ready give the facts that back your position. We need to be right as well as passionate, to counter the fact that we don’t really care about animals.

Understand that the phrase “Big Ag”, while vilified roundly, has come to mean most of us. We aren’t immune to what they are saying.

Be confident in the act that the practices we use on our farms are in fact treating animals with respect. Just because someone disagrees, it does not make us wrong.

Have fun. In the middle of Megan and my conservation, I got an application to join Peta and fill out a survey. LOL. (Laugh Out Loud) I asked Megan how she managed that. She said she didn’t, but I’m not sure she didn’t have a hand in it somehow.  I really should have joined.

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