Farming for Cheer in the Social Sphere

A windswept South Island farm. Photo: Wikimedia

Social media has recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Not naming any names (cough, cough. Donald Trump). So it’s refreshing when a couple of positive, quintessentially Kiwi stories emerge from the mire.

This is exactly the case with Southland farmer Michael Prankerd’s #FinallyFriday on Twitter.

The idea came about after Michael had attended a Farmstrong workshop with Dr. Tom Mulholland, where he learned that asking people what good things had been happening in their lives would help them be more positive if they were experiencing rough times.

Michael said: “After hearing this and asking myself the same question on a tough Southland Spring day, I thought that this kind of reflection was healthy and so asked it of my followers on Twitter.”

Initially, the response Michael received was small, but he found his followers asking him to repeat the question again the following week so they could reflect on the highlights of the week and keep the chain of positivity going.

With this #FinallyFriday was born and it has fast become a weekly staple of Michael and his Twitter followers. As time has passed, more have joined in, and new people get involved each week.

So much so that after Michael felt the hashtag had run its natural course and no one would notice if he stopped doing it, a parody account emerged to keep the hashtag going so Michael felt obliged to restart it on his own account.

“I also try to reply to each person who responds to the question because I know that when I tell people the best things in my life, I am after an enthusiastic and affirmative response, which reinforces what I am saying really is a good thing.”

Michael believes that #FinallyFriday helps to focus his social media use on a positive outlook and enjoys the connections he makes with people by sharing their personal highlights and amazing stories.

Another positive social media story coming out of the farming community belongs to a Waikato farmer by the name of Jason Uden.

During the busy calving season, Jason takes it upon himself to bake cookies and other homemade treats to drop off to different farmers around the region as a way to bring the community together and spread some cheer.

Jason also documented this on his Twitter account, proving once again that social media can be a place for positive discourse.

If only Jason could get some of his cookies delivered to a certain president-elect, then “The Donald” might lighten up and spread some online cheer himself.

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