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This is an example of a tweet using other Twitter handles and hashtags. (Abbey Wick)

How can Twitter help you learn about soil health?

Over the past several years, I have started using Twitter as a tool for getting and sharing information related to #soilhealth. I was reluctant to use this social media tool until Daryl Ritchison, the interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (@DarylRitchison), convinced me to sign on in July 2015. Since then, I have connected with more than 4,500 people in the Twitter-sphere from all over North Dakota and the world.

As we get into #plant18 season, I know there are going to be photos taken by farmers #plantinggreen or seeding a #covercrop on #saline areas. I really want to see what you all are doing and trying.

Please contact me and others like North Dakota State University soil health researcher Caley Gasch (@ckgasch), through Twitter for advice when you are trying something new!

Here are a few tips I've learned on getting started with and using Twitter:

• Establish a Twitter account if you don't have one already. Download the app on your smartphone — you can upload pictures and tweet right from the app.

• Use the search option (found on the bar across the bottom of the screen) and search "NDSUsoilhealth" or "Abbey Wick." You will see my name and my Twitter handle (@NDSUsoilhealth) pop up. Click on my picture.

• In the top right-hand corner, you can click on the "Follow" button. You are now following me and can be part of the learning. You will also get information on @NDSU Soil Health field days and workshops.

• To get ideas for who else to follow, you can scroll through who I am following by clicking on the "846 following" text on the left-hand side of the screen, then decide to follow some of the same people. You can also find people or organizations to follow by entering "soilhealth" or "covercrop" into the search function you used in Step 2. You'll also want to follow Agweek (@AgweekMagazine) or your commodity groups (@ndcorn @NDSoybean) to get their news.

• Next: Tweeting. A couple of rules of thumb — always include a picture because it draws attention to your tweet. Give some information in your tweet about what's going on in the photo. Use the #soilhealth and/or #covercrop hashtags in your tweets and tag me (@NDSUsoilhealth) so I get notified that you tweeted something. Here’s an example of what a Tweet may look like:


• Finally: Retweet. If you find something interesting, retweet it or like it. To retweet, use the arrows that loop around to each other on the bottom of the tweet. To like a tweet, click on the heart. To follow someone that posts a tweet you liked, click on their picture/icon and then click on the Follow button (like you did in Step 3).

Remember the more you use hashtags (like #soilhealth and/or #covercrop when showing soil health building practices), tagging people (@NDSUsoilhealth) or organizations (@AgweekMagazine @ndcorn @NDSoybean) and retweeting, the more followers you will get. But at the very least, you'll get my attention and I'll learn from you about things that are being tried across the region.