Sophie is a social media influencer after 10
Sophie Barnes @Sheepishsophie is a first generation sheep farmer from the UK who uses her Twitter account to show her pride in the industry and to interact with fellow farmers.
“I also use it a lot to get advice from farmers, agronomists and vets around the world. I send a tweet out asking for advice, and within minutes, I have people offering suggestions from the US, the UK and here in NZ [where she currently helps to run a sheep farm]. “I also receive a lot of mess- ages from young people starting up farming or wanting to travel to New Zealand, asking for advice. I love being able to support younger people this way, as I was once in their position,” she said.
From a non-farming background, Sophie has used Twitter to develop contacts and to progress within the industry. “There is a huge ag community on twitter, more than you’d ever expect. When I first got into farming, I didn’t know anyone, or anything for that matter, and Twitter provided me with hundreds of mentors, consultants and friends.
“I’ve been on Twitter, as part of the ag community, for nearly 10 years and it has, hand on heart, gotten me to where I am today. I’m so much of an advocate for Twitter and farming that I tell young people to join up to help get their foot in the door” she said.
However, rural use of social media can be hindered by low broadband speed. Sophie initially encountered challenges with a lack of broadband in the remote part of New Zealand where she and her partner farm. They managed to receive one bar of measly 3G by perching on the corner of their couch. “With no one else but us two working on the farm, and no community to speak of down our valley, the lack of internet and therefore access to Twitter really did make life hard here. “But we now have Wi-fi and I feel just that little bit more connected with the world, and the people that have supported me for the last 10 years”
“I’d like to think my twitter account promotes farming as a