Thursday, July 26, 2012
Youth, adults tap social networking
By SUE WATSON
They are young and they are older and they all say they are still learning how to social network.
The Marshall County Extension office and 4-H Club leaders in the state met at the Information Technology Center in Holly Springs recently to improve their skills in the use of networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin.
Taking the lead were Mississippi 4-H leaders from Marshall, Lee, Union and Madison counties. The youth are often more technology savvy and are now becoming the teachers of adults.
Morris Houston with the Extension Service said 4-H’ers will take the lead. TransCanada Pipeline provided support for the class.
“The big thing from the standpoint of TransCanada is that these young people are teaching adults how to use this technology,” he said. “In times of emergency is when this can be most valuable. I do development work. We’ve always asked our communities to support 4-H and now we are asking our kids to turn back around and support the community.”
Gary Schreffler with TransCanada explained its role in supporting technology use. TransCanada owns seven natural gas pipelines inside the United States.
“We see this as a valuable program not only to provide support, but then the kids are able to get the understanding they need,” he said. “We see these 4-H’ers as the next generation of leaders – our next farmers, our next business leaders and our next state and federal leaders.”
Adults who already use technology in a limited way, said they will be better at their jobs when they get more fluent in the use of the new social networking technologies.
“I’m from the old school,” said county administrator Larry Hall. “I work 10-12 hours a day and want to take advantage of what’s available on iPhone and iPad to extend my ability to manage county business.”
Hall popped up photos he had taken of equipment tags when in the field. One number he could not see with his eyes was readable when he took a picture of it and enlarged it on his camera.
Kay Brownlee, with the county administrator’s office, agreed the technology will be useful at work.
“We can use it to get the word out when bridges or roads are closed,” she said, “so people can take an alternate route.”
Crystal Stewart, with Holly Springs Recreation and Parks, expects to use the technology a lot in her work.
“I want to find a way to promote recreation and parks events and objectives,” she said. “That way people will know about programs in advance so more will sign up for activities and we will have larger participation.”
4-H’er Meredith Koch, of Byhalia, is enthusiastic about her club’s involvement.
“I think it’s more about from an early age we’ve been taught,” she said. “Now we’re giving back with technology. We have Mississippi State 4-H technology teams and the Extension offices. And we have one-on-one tutoring. We tend to work more in the cities because it is more organized.”
Technology teams reach from Lucedale, to Tupelo, to Starkville, to Holly Springs and Byhalia, she said of her group. It is a first statewide for 4-H to be involved in teaching technology working with the mayors’ offices and with local business owners, she said.
“We try to strengthen the community,” Koch said. “We love using our knowledge to make a difference in our communities.”
4-H’er Alivia Roberts said teaching is helping her to learn.
“While we teach, I am actually learning more,” she said.
Susan Crell, with Callicutt Realty, said she is interested in developing a business blog.
“I think we’ve got to sell Holly Springs first,” she said. “A blog would be great about Holly Springs. A YouTube video would help us sell homes.”
State representative Kelvin Buck also attended the workshop. He said he already uses social networking to a limited extent but he wants to get better at it.
“I’m interested in a blog on Facebook or Twitter and have them to show me how to set up my own blog,” he said. “I want to learn how to better use my Facebook page. I already know the basic and limited knowledge. This will help me to reach out to a larger audience.”
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