Social Media Dilemma

Chuck Zimmerman

I joined Twitter as AgriBlogger in 2007, just a year after it was introduced, although it was another year before I started tweeting. I have over 19,500 followers. As new media pioneers, we were among the first to start using this innovative way to communicate with people around the world in 140 characters or less. Remember AgChat? That started back in 2009. Remember TweetUps? Once upon a time, Twitter was fun and exciting and a great way to connect and network with people of different backgrounds to exchange ideas and opinions. For farmers it was all about telling their story to help consumers better understand where their food came from.

I also joined Facebook in 2007 and I have almost 1700 friends from all over the world and many of them, if not most, are business acquaintances. I have always loved having that personal connection with family and friends, sharing photos and funny memes, getting back in touch with old friends and making new ones.

The problem is that these platforms, and YouTube as well, have become political weapons. When Twitter and Facebook started censoring people and opinions last year related to the pandemic, it was concerning. When Twitter actually banned the New York Post for a news story about Hunter Biden, that was incredible. Since the election, the level of censorship on all of the major social media platforms has just skyrocketed. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that freedom of speech and of the press might be endangered in this country, but we do believe it is right now. Fact checking should not apply to opinions.

Facebook and Twitter started out as enjoyable ways for individuals to keep in touch with people or share opinions, but quickly became places for companies to put on a public face and connect with customers. Now they are both essentially business platforms, but analytics have become almost impossible to collect in any meaningful way, making it very difficult to measure results. So, besides the fact that these social platforms are engaging in political censorship, they are becoming less useful for businesses. Ask any Facebook publisher what percentage of their followers actually get to see their content. The algorithms are making it impossible to reach an audience without buying advertising, and even advertising is getting rejected now.

The dilemma is what to do now? We have Facebook and Twitter accounts for ZimmComm, AgWired, Energy AgWired, and AgNewsWire, as well as personal accounts. It appears that at the moment, LinkedIn is still a safe space, so we are expanding our use of that platform. We have also looked into some of the alternative social media platforms but really don’t relish the idea of starting all over again with new accounts.

Because we believe Facebook is basically not helpful for our business at this point, not to mention just a pain to deal with on a day to day basis, we have made the decision to put a temporary hold on our business Facebook accounts. They will remain open for now but we will not be posting on them. We will also be less active on our personal accounts. For now we will keep using Twitter for business, but Cindy has deleted her personal account @farmpodcaster.

We know we are not the only ones struggling with this dilemma, on both an ethical and a business level, but it is a good time for everyone to look at how many platforms you are using now and whether they are still useful to you as a business – or healthy for you as an individual. Feel free to leave a comment or send an email with your thoughts to

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