This blog post is my response to the question asked over and over at every national Extension meeting/conference I have attended since 2011.
What is the impact of social media?
This is the wrong question. Anyone who asks this question does not understand social media--which is the current state of the Internet right now.
I work in Extension. We are a system of educators whose mission it is to provide non-formal education and learning activities to people throughout the country using research-based information from land grant universities. A system largely behind the curve of advances in 21st century communication. Change agents who resist the opportunity to tell the story of the incredible impacts they make on a daily basis. Otherwise known as, "the best kept secret" in your community.
Face-to-face contacts, the telephone, fax machine, email, newspaper articles and radio ads--what is the impact of these communication tools and traditional media on your Extension programs? Can you give me these metrics?
Let me ask another way, what impact has your mom and dad had on your life? Can you give me these metrics? You don't have the data but it exists, likely in your memories and photo albums.
This time of year there’s a superabundance of people writing and sharing listicles about the things you need to do and learn in 2016 to have a more meaningful career and life. I even came across this one, 16 Lists to Make to Jumpstart Your Career in 2016—a list of lists, for real inc.com?!
It is so easy to get overwhelmed and never check a single box on your list…or even make a list for that matter.
Nevertheless, I’d like to share my Best Ways to Make an Impact in 2016 listicle with you:
I work in the Cooperative Extension System. We take the science from our Land Grant Universities and create educational programs for the people in our communities. Our objective is to help the public use research-based information to improve their lives.
Many of us are "Experts" who don't work out loud, so we don't get the opportunity to serve all the people that we should be reaching.
I believe Extension professionals must put themselves in the flow of information, staying up-to-date in their field of expertise. I also believe that we can provide value for our clients by curating research-based information and vetting the information that is not. Curating alone is not enough, we must also take a leadership role in disseminating information online by leading networks of people who need Extension, but just don't know it.
This is my presentation outline from the NAEPSDP national conference in San Diego, CA.
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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