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SCIENCE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA EXPANDS EXTENSION EDUCATION

H. Wooten, UF/IFAS Extension, Orange County, Orlando, FL

Situation: The public is increasingly engaged in social media resulting in shifting information gleaning from authoritative sources to social networks. Extension faces challenges reaching new, diverse audiences, while also supporting existing clientele with science-based information. Science-based social media education provides on-demand education that facilitates knowledge gain resulting in adoption of new practices and behavior change. In addition, using YouTube as a teaching tool caters to visual, auditory, and hearing impaired learners, and transcripts can be generated in over fifty languages which accommodates diverse audiences.

Methods: Several “Set it and Forget it Hydroponics” workshops and demonstrations were offered in Central Florida starting in 2017. The demand for the classes exceeded the supply, and experienced students expressed a need to revisit the science-based methods learned at traditional, face-to-face, extension programs in order to adopt the practices season after season. An easily searchable YouTube video entitled “Hydroponic Lettuce Hannah Wooten” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQey35Tt24I) was developed in February 2018 in partnership with Seminole Government Television to provide on-demand learning about hydroponics.

Results: The YouTube video has over 428,000 views with an average view duration of 5 minutes. There has been a 1533% increase in subscribers to the Seminole County Government YouTube page. The video has over 5,800 “likes” and over 350 comments many of which commend the educational quality of the lesson. As a result of the video, individuals locally and internationally contact UF/IFAS Extension for more science-based information about the . Additionally, Extension educators less experienced in the subject of hydroponics rely on the YouTube video to support their own programs, thus extending the reach of expertise.

Conclusion: Extension engagement in social media delivers science-based information to support clienteles’ adoption of practices beyond the classroom, while also positioning Extension as an accessible authority for gleaning factual information in an on-demand society.

7 Comments on “SCIENCE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA EXPANDS EXTENSION EDUCATION

  1. Great job Hannah! It is an innovative use of modern tools. Have you created your own channel on YouTube? I think it is apparent people have adopted some of your recommendations based on the comment section.

  2. This is a nice example of getting additional reach out of one presentation. I’d be curious to see additional data on what viewers have put into practice.

  3. Do you get much feedback from participants? So many people, is wonderful, the question is how to get adoption numbers. Great numbers, it is almost is guaranteed there was impact.

  4. Over 428,000 views! That is excellent! I agree we need to utilize social media more, especially these “how-to” videos.

  5. If Extension were to use more video reach through social media what would the evaluation tool look like?

  6. Wow amazing reach with over 400,000 views! I agree that social media is an new outlet for Extension to reach clientele. I feel this should be a larger part of our ROA and we should be developing better record keeping systems to track social media extension efforts.