I have been doing research for work about social networks. I have noticed that the parent and mommy bloggers have very well established communities. These communities are places you can go online to find other people that care about your issues. Two of the sites I spent the most time on were Hip Mama’s Place and BlogHer. According to the Compete data BlogHer averages over 600,000 visits per month. In these communities there are links to many different blogs, community message boards and even ads. BlogHer has become a place where parents and mothers can go to learn about relevant news and talk about it. The sites strength and popularity comes from the fact that it has so many contributors. These aspects make the site relevant and credible.
I think that sustainable agriculture needs an online headquarters like BlogHer. We need a place where someone that wants to know about sustainable agriculture can read all of our blogs. In addition, it is a place were people that are active in the community can learn more as well as pool our resources. Having a place where different people can talk and debate is amazing, and the internet is a great facilitator.
Another way an online social community could be used is to make more people aware of actions and events that are currently being taken. For example, on Tuesdays from 8-10 PM EDT a conversation takes place on Twitter. To follow the conversation you use the hashtag “agchat”. Right now there is no where for people to go to learn about this weekly agchat. There is an impressive turn out each week but you have to know someone that participates or stumble across it to know when and where it takes place. If sustainable agriculture had a headquarters anyone that visited the headquarters, for any reason could learn about this conversation. And the with more people talking more ideas can be floated around. More discuss is a positive at this point not a negative.
Another way that a sustainable agriculture online community is beneficial is in sheer numbers. If a site gets 600,000 visitors they are going to have a lot more online influence than a collection of sites (posting on the same topic) that get 100 visitors each. If a large number of people are visiting a specific site then there is a better chance of the story being repeated and eventually going viral. And isn’t going viral the goal of any post. On some level every post is written for the intention of being heard.
I have not fully researched the sustainable agriculture community online. However, from my quick scan I could not find a headquarters similar to BlogHer. If you know of one please let me know. If there isn’t one, I think we need one!