Are we qualified?

What qualifies us to blog? What influence does our writing have on others — just because we share our stories and input? We may not be as qualified as you’d think.

Sure, it’s our right to voice our thoughts and feelings. That is one reason I began my blog. I felt inspired to share my passions and life experiences with others. But what caused this sensation of bloggers like myself? Blogs have been around for years and never reached the popularity they have today.

LinkedIn shared a post titled, 29 Reasons to Start a Blog. There are many plausible ideas. But what happens once you gain a followership and your voice is echoing through a megaphone across the Internet? You become a news source.

In this technological age, my millennial generation seeks fast-paced, easily-accessible information. Blogs are one avenue users seek updates. However, there are flaws in the system. The idea of newsworthy information takes me back to my introductory news writing course last fall. Anyone can share information. However, you must have sources to be reputable. Evidence and experience are key components to a good source. In blogs, we (the writers) become a source. Some bloggers are more qualified than others to provide accurate, relevant information. What does that mean for the rest of us?

This topic came to mind after a phone conversation focused on agriculture trends and the future of our industry. As you may know, we are a huge discussion piece. From GMOs and antibiotics to exports and agricultural trade, there is a lot to talk about! Unfortunately, some of the discussion made is purely opinions. These opinions become sources and are shared in hopes of encouraging others to believe them. And with those opinions, backlash comes to the industry.

As I said above, I have no problem with anyone sharing their opinions. The only thing that irks me is that others are unwilling to research and receive feedback from experts and experienced sources to quantify their information. These experts could be educators and university affiliates, scientists, regulatory groups (i.e. USDA, EPA or FDA) and others who have quantitative and qualitative evidence from experiences. This could alleviate some headache consumers and producers undergo through misinformation.

I have a challenge, my fellow bloggers and agriculturalists. How can we continue sharing our experiences and information and become the expert source?

Do you think we are qualified? Let’s continue the conversation and see what ideas we can collate.

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