If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, you are familiar with one of my overriding professional preoccupations: that the techniques Cooperative Extension educators once used to dominate the knowledge landscape — face-to-face encounters and traditional print and broadcast media — are being replaced by a new information order in which online sources of knowledge accessed literally at the speed of light out compete everything.
The availability of so much information explains why we are being shoved off the turf we once considered exclusively our own. And here’s the really scary part: We face the real risk of extinction unless we learn how to operate effectively within this increasingly crowded landscape and in ways that distinguish us from tens of millions of others.
There is a place for Extension educators in this new 21st century information order, but only if we transform ourselves into engaged, networked educators — people who not only inspire their clients but also help them learn and adapt within this radically new world and flattened knowledge landscape. We must become fully engaged, fully networked educators who use social media to disseminate knowledge to much larger audiences and to develop two-way, reciprocal relationships with those audiences.
This video, which serves as a companion piece for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s online publication, “A Social Media Call to Action,” is an appeal to Extension educators everywhere to undertake the requisite steps to transform themselves into the 21st century educators they must become, not only for the sake of their clients but also for their organizational survival.