An Investigation of Social Media's Roles in Knowledge Exchange by Farmers

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conference paper
Innovation System in Agricultural Downstream Supply Chain: A Systematic Literature Review and Future Challenges
Klerkx L.
Accelerating innovation development and scaling processes for agricultural transformation

Social media (SM) such as Twitter and Facebook are new communication tools for rural communities, and SM has enabled the creation of rural social networks. Increased use by farmers of 'mobile digital devices' and better rural access to broadband services have enhanced so that SM is being used to support farming decisions. However, in depth studies on how SM is used for knowledge sharing amongst farmers and the role of rural professionals (e.g. advisors) in this space is an emergent field with limited literature. There is a need to understand more about the roles SM play in farmer decision-making and agricultural innovation more broadly. Is farmer participation oriented to strategic, tactical or operational farm decision making? Little is known about differences in participation between farmers and rural professionals or about learning processes and knowledge creation in these virtual spaces. Does SM create spaces where participants engage on an equitable, trust forming and self-directed basis? What is the composition and global reach of these media networks? How rapidly and flexibly do they form, disband and reconfigure? To answer these questions, research methods used included 'Twitter Scraping software' and tools such as 'Twitonomy' to mine data off selected Twitter accounts and farmer forums. Also, online pasture based dairy farmer groups were examined in the Facebook study

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Social Media
Rural Professionals
Opinion Leaders
Knowledge Exchanges
Online Communities