With the permission of the guest blogger, I have posted her entire article on my blog. For the original please click here.
Generation Y has left quite the mark on our society – haven’t we?
For those of you who just clicked on the link above- yes, I just cited Wikipedia. And yes, I can do that because I am Generation Y. I’m independent. I make my own rules. Sometimes I follow the rules of those that I respect highly. Furthermore, I’m both “high-performance and high-maintenance,” as this USA Today article put it.
If you aren’t one of us, we’re easy to spot. Harry Potter was our Peter Pan. Eminem is our comeback kid and the names Blink-182, Britney Spears and Creed all have a special place in our hearts.
But that’s all in the past now. What does a Gen Yer like me do now that Britney’s back at the gym and Harry Potter has come to an end? I do just what everyone else does. I juggle a career in agriculture, a husband, a house, time at the gym, volunteering, spending time online and whatever else I need to do.
While I don’t spend every second online like some of our youngest Gen Yers, it’s a part of my life I couldn’t live without and it has hugely impacted my “agvocacy”, advocating for agriculture. Aside from agvocacy, it’s my direct link to answering questions, a lip-smacking recipe for dinner and a community of people who care about me. I explore topics that interest me on blogs, Google, Facebook and Twitter. I’m always looking for new ways, like Pinterest or Google+, to organize my overload of information. But to be honest, I don’t have the time to get to know technology or every topic as good as I should.
So what do I do? I rely on an online network of people I’ve built to provide me with trustworthy information. I seek out blogs that I trust, people on Twitter I’ve had meaningful conversations with, and webpages or Facebook pages that give me a glimpse into things I don’t understand.
Most recently, I became involved with a group of Rockin’ Rural Women that are on both Twitter andFacebook. There are about 800 of us nationwide. We come together to celebrate all things are rural- our livelihoods, our dreams, our values. Simply put, you don’t need to be a cowgirl but do you need to love dirt under your fingernails. Last week we had a chat on Facebook and Twitter about holiday stress and how we (as women) de-stress. It’s always a great time. Such good people. Such good prizes.
So what does this mean to you? To me? To agvocacy?
We need to consider taking time to break out of our everyday routines and to be a part of online relationships- not just conversations. The relationships need to be honest, transparent and meaningful, just like offline relationships are.
Twitter is a great place to do this type of online relationship building. While there millions of more people still on MySpace compared to those of us on Twitter, I have found Twitter to be a highly influential and engaged place to build relationships. Pick a TV show, hobby or interest you enjoy and follow the Twitter hashtag. Connect with a few new people every week and grow those relationships. This will allow you to go “beyond the choir” that you engage with daily or weekly and truly reach people outside of agriculture circle you already know well.
Do you blog? Find a new blog or two that shares a common interest or hobby and comment on those blogs. Establish a relationship with the blogger and invite them to read your blog. It’s amazing how these connections can go so deep.
I tend to find, when a non-agriculture person I have built a relationship with online has a question about food or farming, they often will think of me as a resource to go to with their question. It’s just one way my agvocacy impacts the online relationships I have built.
Take it from a Gen Yer, I understand it’s easy to get caught in our own world and our own circles- days are long, time is short, and even the lowest maintenance, “high-maintenance Gen Yer” has too many things to do. But there are 70 million of us Gen Yers out there and we all have questions about everything from fashion to food. Do you want to help answer?
Jodi Oleen is a thirty-something Floridian-turned-Kansan. She is recently married and works for a farmer led organization in The Little Apple. She has a undergraduate degree in Animal Science with an Equine Option and a Master’s degree in Food and Resource Economics, both from University of Florida. Find her on Twitter or Facebook, or check outmycousinisvegan.wordpress.com.