PR - SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE OF AGRICULTURE: APPROACHES TO THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Continuous technical progress in the memory, processor and transfer technology creates new opportunities e.g. in the mobile exchange of information in words and pictures. This allows new innovation rates, expanded options and necessities of image work also regarding agricultural items providing image-forming information. In a multi-method approach following the idea of participating observation workshop-sessions, media monitoring, case studies and two surveys contributed to a set of nine theses. Those can serve as guidelines for making use of Social Media in order to actively take influence of the image of agriculture in appearing in the mirror of consumers and society.
The theses lead to some basic rules for farmers and farmers´ associations on how to benefit by making use of the opportunities that Social Media provide for the PR the agricultural sector. In the project underlying this contribution the theses have been undergoing a process of reviewing an discourse by deduction, experts validation in workshops and empirically by online surveys of consumers and experts attitudes. To a certain, not little, amount traditional PR done by professionals in organizations has to be adjusted in order to fit to the new options and new limitations that online media and social networks provide. Individual farms and farmers have to play a role in making use of Social Media for PR purposes. And there has to be established a kind of co-operation between the individual PR and the professional PR carried out in associations and other institutions.
As a result, it must be recognized that the degree of assured knowledge about Social Media, their environment, conditions, opportunities and challenges, their interrelationships and implications is obviously low, the knowledge can claim provisional validity. Nevertheless, it would not be an option to stay away and do nothing. From a well-known paradigm of communication, which postulates the impossibility not to communicate follows the need to active communication. Merely observing Social Media from the sidelines is not an option for an active economic branch.
Keywords: Social Media, Image, Communication, Information, Public Relations,