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'Performance Matters' for staying in touch

It has been a big socially
connected week for me. I had about 20 birthday greetings from Facebook friends,
I received an email from Prime Minister Harper, another from Alberta Premier Ed
Stelmach and an inspiring ‘Performance Matters’ video clip from Canterra Seeds (see website below).

 I had Facebook birthday
wishes from friends and family across Canada, parts of the U.S. and from as far

away as Norway. I happened to be out, but my mother called from Ontario and
left a voicemail greeting.

The Prime Minister and
Premier didn’t send me birthday greetings (I’m not that old), they just wanted
to consult on matters of state and public policy. And I am always glad to share
my thoughts.

As Ed – I mean Premier
Stelmach – pointed out in his note yesterday it is a new era of communications.

“Times have changed quickly,”
writes the Premier. “A mere decade ago, there was no Facebook, Twitter, MySpace
or YouTube. Google is not much older. Yet many Albertans regularly use these
sites to get information and stay in touch with their friends, relatives and
colleagues. I have already set up a Facebook supporter page and a Twitter
account and now I hope you will read these emails from me so we can stay in

And aint that the truth. When

I was a kid, at the dawn of time, there were three basic tools to keep in touch
with friends and neighbors – pickup the phone (and hope the party line was
free, or quietly listen in until it was free), write a letter, or if you
happened to see your neighbor as you were going from one field to the next,
stop your tractors on the road and have a visit. That was how most connection
was made. (My mother still keeps a pretty close eye on the kitchen window at
the farm house to see who is going up and down the road.)

Today, I still use the phone
a lot, but email is huge. Man, if email went down today, my goose would be
cooked. I’m sure I process at least 100 emails a day. Some of that is staying
connected with family and friends, but much of it has to do with work. I can
connect with farmers and agribusiness when I am working on stories. All the

columns and photos that appear in Grainews and Cattleman’s Corner come and go
via email. For someone like Christoph Weder, who appears to be still searching
for a homeland, I can receive his column whether he is on the ranch at Spirit
River in Alberta Peace River region, from his hotel room in Munich, Germany, or
at a food trade show in Dubai. Wayne Burleson, range management specialist from
Montana recently sent me a column and photos from Malawi, Africa, and Kim
Nielsen, with the ag service board in the County of Clearwater in central
Alberta, used email to keep us all posted on his Australian adventure earlier
this year.

When it comes to email
communications, distance and time zones are meaningless. (The other day I was
researching some information on seeding systems and I came across a website for
TAKA Co. which is the largest agricultural implement manufacturer in Iran. I
sent them an email to see if they have any Canadian dealers yet. But, who

I still haven’t got any real
sense of the value of Facebook and Twitter yet. I joined the networks, because
they are there and I felt I should see what they are about, but I can’t say
they’ve made a huge difference in the quality of my personal life, or benefited
my work.

I exchanged a Facebook
message with Alberta farmer/writer Gerald Pilger the other day. He admits that
he joined up because he kept getting messages from people on Facebook urging
him to join, but on the day we chatted I don’t think Facebook was helping him
in his efforts to move grain so it wouldn’t heat.

And I had a short Facebook
chat with Harry Sugimoto of Lethbridge yesterday. Harry is retired, but he was
an ag specialist with the Royal Bank for many years. He admits he isn’t a very
good Facebooker yet, either, but felt he too should check it out.

But now that Premier Ed has
opened Facebook and Twitter accounts, that means I will have another tool for
getting my input on provincial matters directly to his ‘in box’. The province
should be running much more efficiently in the near future. Steveo (PM Harper)
hasn’t invited me to be a Facebook friend yet, but I’m sure it is coming. 

Aside from ‘the value’ of all
this social networking, the other big issue for me is time. When the heck do
you find time in the day for all this social networking???

Back to the message from
Canterra Seeds. It has nothing to do with Facebook or Twitter, but I thought it
was a clever and funny commercial for their products. It is good to see a
company with a sense of humor. Check it out




About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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