Monday, August 12, 2013

Mobile! Social! Now!

My goal as an educator, researcher and extension specialist is to reach as many people as possible.”
                                                                    -John Kaminski, Penn State University

In late June while in South Florida for video production work I was able to attend Social Media Day Miami – the Magic City’s event coinciding with mashable’s global celebration.  

Since 2009 I have been managing the twitter presence for Miami-Dade County’s Urban Conservation Unit (U.C.U.) – at first fumbling through the medium, but in recent years the madness has developed a method. So my aims were two: learn something from the sundry presentations and also insert ourselves and the conservation message in the narrative of the day’s events.

The idea that a gaggle of irrigation techs had anything worthwhile to communicate on social media was a matter of debate back in 2009. In the end, however, then team leader Mary McCready relented and opened a twitter account. I’ll admit it felt like we were tweeting into a vast abyss at the time, but tweet I did, and in subsequent years a strategy ensued – emphasizing networking and information sharing with peers around the country, FFL/UCU event announcements and still/video media content distribution. Today it is not rare for UF/IFAS, SFWMD or large industry companies to retweet our content.

Back to #SMDayMIA
Clockwise: Freedom Tower, Arsht Center...wait, what?
Beyond the chance to photograph downtown Miami on a beautiful Sunday morning, attending Social Media Day offered other rewards - namely, confirmation that our focus on visual and micro-video content is on target.
Jeff Cohen drives the point home: nobody clicks on boring
“Image is everything!” a presenter/ad executive (pictured above) exclaimed, then proceeded to show us slides about how nobody clicks on boring. I also attended lectures on millennial marketing and on social media basics. The takeaway: you have to be where the people are, in some instances to move product and in other instances for education and outreach.

Who wants to see a video about applying for rebates? Errbody!

And the fact is that everyone is on social media, and many in a professional capacity working on the same issues and in the same fields as us.

Circa November 2012: the water bloggers present at the I.A. Conference

There is the Turfgrass Science professor I quote above, or the golf course superintendent with amazing maintenance videos, or the water bloggers who we met and featured in our IA video report back last year, and many more! So why not connect and share?
Be there or be square: 8/21 2pm EST #landscapechat
How do you know if you’ve developed a social media strategy that works? Feedback. And there is no greater feedback than the respect of your peers. That said, last week the U.C.U. was formally invited to be the guest on the weekly national water conservation twitter discussion #landscapechat. Averaging an audience of 100K, it may be the most prominent platform our work has enjoyed to date.

I am certainly relishing the moment and using all my media ability to promote this event that will showcase the often unheralded work we do in Miami-Dade. So whether or not you are on twitter, tune in and tweet: 8/21 2pm EST. #landscapechat


  1. So our time in the guest seat on #landscapechat was a blast! There was lots of love from peers around the country and plenty of first time participants. We were a hit. If you missed it you can enjoy the play by play here. Stay tuned and get social!

  2. Great blog Mike! thanks for taking the time to do this!