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Tom Hoogendoorn, outspoken and dedicated ambassador for the dairy industry, is a farmer at Valedoorn Farms in Agassiz, BC. Throughout the years, Tom has served on with the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) board of directors from 2011-2013, and currently serves on the BC Milk Marketing Board (BCMMB). With evolutions in technology in the current landscape of the dairy industry, Tom has been able to utilize social media to address his local community about on-farm management practices.

Read Tom's experience with social media below. 

One of my favourite social media platforms is Twitter. A great thing about the site is that you get out of it what you put into it.  

When I’m not farming, one of my main hobbies is running.  When I first started using Twitter, I decided to follow runners, races and friends. After a few months, I decided to start using it to follow and tweet about the dairy industry. I still follow the running world, but mainly focus on advocating for all things dairy.  

When getting started, decide what your written profile is going to be and how you want to come across.  It’s very important to clearly demonstrate what your angle is on Twitter. 
The profile picture is the next thing. Please don't use their default which is an egg head. Twitter should be fun and informative. Something has to grab an audience. 
Use a twitter name that is easy for people to remember and spell. That way you will get mentioned easier. 

By deciding on your profile, fellow tweeters will decide if you suit their needs and if they want to follow you. You may want to just narrow your focus on a few people to follow for information or you may want to follow a wide variety of people or ideas. Same goes for followers. Decide if you want to reach a wide audience or a narrow one.  I follow industry people and organizations such as Dairy farmers of Canada, BC Milk and Powered by Chocolate Milk. Check out their followers and you will get lots of interesting ideas. 

Twitter can be lots of fun, but remember never tweet something that you don't mean to say.  It's like toothpaste once it's out you can't put it back. I say stay positive! Don't be scared it's fun. My handle is @hoogent.

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By Tom Hoogendorn

No matter what industry you're in, social media is a great tool to stay connected to the wider, and online community - and as Tom said, it can be lots of fun!

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