Stay classy, (on) social media

Thanks to Amie Howes for sharing this great piece. We ALL can learn from her experience!

Enjoy!

P.S. I really hope you read the title in a Ron Burgundy voice…
                                                                                                                                                                      
When Class worked with my Sass… Well, at least on social media

By Amie Howes,

I love to debate and discuss topics near and dear to my heart. The most productive debates happen when both parties, who are both passionate about what they believe, can remain teachable and respect the other person’s opinion, whether right or wrong. Also, all parties depart the conversation having learned something.

This has not always been how I’ve felt though. I would get so angry and defend instead of relate and align myself with that person or group. This past year at the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, Charlie Arnot from the Center for Food Integrity really challenged my way of thinking, and my learning’s helped me in a social media conversation a couple months ago. He talked about really taking the time to hear what another person is really saying, and aligning yourself with them in order to have a productive conversation.

Backstory:

Many large food corporations have said they will no longer accept rBST milk, so milk processors sent letters to producers stating as of a certain date they must stop using the product. A larger dairy producer in my area posted a comment, creating that righteous anger well up inside me. I could’ve clicked off the page, however, it goes against everything I believe and teach my kids!

The Conversation:

It started with a producer upset over losing a piece of technology, that they believed made their farm more environmentally friendly, that consumers seem to have lost trust in farmers and their abilities, and fear about what it will take for them get a reality check with 14% of PA is on food stamps.

I responded to all those who commented in the Ag and non-Ag world with this (I said I replaced sass with class, but it’s somewhat gray here 🙂 ), and the comment that was posed to me:

amie howes facebook comments

Now press pause:

What did I learn from this comment? I learned a few things, which made my ending remarks to them softer, showing I respected the opinion and fears they had.

  1. They have a disease that forces them to be careful of everything their body comes into contact with. They have researched endlessly (I’m sure they found scary information along with the good) to do what they thought is safe for their family. Discover the cause of fear.
  2. There is accurate information out there they do not know (yet), which creates room for them to learn. Send credible websites with truthful facts and resources to further educate them, which builds your credibility as well. Educate while you communicate.
  3. Respectfully challenge them to visit a local farmer. Create opportunities for them!
  4. They are teachable! Don’t underestimate your consumer. Solution Continue planting seeds of information!
  5. In ending the conversation, I thanked them for being willing to engage in the conversation and willing to learn about how and why farmers use technologies in their business.

So I challenge you to think about the underlying reason for someone to be opposed to something you passionately deem acceptable. You will know pretty quickly if they are worth your energy and patience or just #Crazy!

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