Carrie Mess also known as Dairy Carrie talked to our PR in Ag class. She is a Wisconsin dairy farmer and writes the Dairy Carrie blog, facebook, and twitter. She got started blogging two years ago. Carrie didn’t originally grow up on a farm. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. When she went to high school they didn’t have FFA and were just starting a few animal science classes. She took those and viewed herself as more of a horse chick. She married into a dairy farm family. They have about 100 cows on 300 acres, which is the average size of a Wisconsin dairy. She first started her writing with facebook. She then jumped into twitter, because when they moved to the farm she had another business and wanted to be able to promote it through the twitter social media outlet. While on twitter she found a lot of other farmers. She saw it as a great resource for learning and was also new to the farm and dairy way of life. About that same time there was a group forming the Ag Chat Foundation. Carrie has been a part of it since it started. It is a place for farmers to tell their stories as well as a tool to teach people how to use social media tools to tell their own story. After the first ag chat is when she decided to launch her blog. After about two years once launching her blog she has had around two thousand views.
One of her first blogs was done over a hay drive she was trying to help get started to help get semi loads of hay south. They got hay and money donated and ended up shipping seven loads from all over the country to send south to states like Texas. They also got donations from bands such as Randy Rogers and Cross Canadian Ragweed. One of her next blogs that got a big hit was a letter that she wrote to Ryan Gosling about dehorning and PETA. She said polled was a great option, although the gene pool can be small and you don’t want cousin to cousin marriage. Her “snarky” side came out as she called it.
Another hit blog was that about Panera Bread and their marketing campaign about serving antibiotic free chicken. She is not for this nor how they displayed a pill shaped chicken named lazy. They used this form of advertisement to try and say that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. Needless to say she wrote another snarky letter. About twenty minutes later her phone started ringing and her post was going viral. Forty eight hours later and Panera virally stated an apology for their ad as well as to her personally. She was amazed and never though that would happen.
Her latest blog has been about the North Dakota blizzard. The UK newspaper picked up that post and had about half a million views. Her blog also had over one thousand views. Carrie will tell you that she is not a polished writer and the blog turned into a thing all on its own. She says that it is neat and she likes it. She also has an advantage in understanding how “city” people think as she was once one herself. She says that they aren’t uneducated and do not need people to educate them. They do however need to hear our stories and let them speak for the industry.
When she focused on PR she said for it to be right you don’t want to send out a message that can be taken several different ways. You need to be able to control your messages. However, with social media it isn’t about controlling the message but about being a part of the conversation. It is a more relaxed area to talk and needs to be more human like, not too stuffy. Some of her final advice was to write from your heart and in your own style.