In the run-up to the World Congress on Agroforestry (#WCA2014), we ran a blog competition. The purpose was to provide agroforestry researchers, practitioners, students and farmers a platform to showcase their projects on our blog. We also used this opportunity to encourage people to discover the power of blogging -and social media as a whole- as powerful online publishing and discussion tools. In the process, we also guided people into “the art of blogging”.
The online public could vote for each blog entry, and leave comments, stimulating online discussions on the topics our contest entrants blogged about.
In one month, we received 47 blogposts from 19 countries (India, Morocco, UK, Kenya, Indonesia, Comoros, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Moldova, Bolivia, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Canada, Nepal, Sweden, Eritrea, Vietnam and Switzerland).
These contest entries received a total of 23,991 online votes, and 2,262 comments, which was way beyond our expectation. This success showed how eager people were to publish and interact online.
It was also encouraging to see how many competition entrants told us, this was actually the first time they wrote a blogpost, and how they enjoyed discovering the ease of publishing and the speed in which the blogposts “traveled” through the online media. Many were surprised about the amount of people who read the entries: over 35,000 people.
Here are some excerpts we received from our competition entrants:
When I circulated information about my blog to the Agricultural Research Service Scientist forum of ICAR & Agricultural extension as well as Animal Nutrition Association, they got introduced for first time to the concept of Blogging. Some wish to write now. It may go viral!
I am happy to see, it is making some impact. (…) (Our) scientists were largely ignorant about this till today, despite good publicity made through different channels.
I am enjoying blogging!
(This) is a kind of game changer for me!! I’m inspired so much & wish many get inspired too! So, I have uploaded it on all of my networks! hope it would help many to think social media a bit more productively, like blogging!!
– Dr Mahesh Chander, Principal Scientist & Head, Division of Extension Education, Indian Veterinary Research Institute
The blog post competition is well received by all here at ICAR/NARS and I hope this will be trendsetter….
–Sridhar Gutam PhD, ARS, Patent Laws (NALSAR), IP & Biotech. (WIPO) – Senior scientist (Plant Physiology) Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture
It was quite fun participating in this competition. Though I have lost all hopes of winning since I can check the number of votes other participants have got, (…) it was fun indeed, but I learnt so many new things in the process.
– Dr Sandeep Sehgal – Assistant Professor, Agroforestry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of agricultural Sciences and Technology
Check the original post on the #WCA2014 blog for the winners of our blog competition.
Picture courtesy Daniel Kapsoot (World Agroforestry Center)