Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Social Media Training Site

Why did we create this national training site? 

The Internet, smartphones, tablets and Social Media have added another dimension to how EMGs can communicate with the gardening public.

  • Personal schedules make it difficult for clientele to plan for Extension office visits and training during normal office hours.
  • The Internet is always "on" and can be accessed from almost anywhere using smartphones and tablets making access to information personal and portable.
  • Because of the technological advances we can now provide access to Extension resources in a virtual environment to complement what exists in the physical location.
  • Interacting with others with common interests through a social, online setting is fun and promotes informal learning across geographic regions.
Based on a national survey in 2013, we discovered there is great interest in having nationally coordinated online social media training. The survey was distributed through local and state programs and had 1143 EMG volunteer and 107 EMG coordinator respondents.
  • 90% of EMG volunteers and 94% of coordinators responding were interested in the training.
  • 91% of EMG volunteers and 99% of coordinators responding were willing to use social media in the local EMG program.
  • 100% of EMG volunteers and 94% of coordinators responding were willing to participate in a nationally coordinated social media program.

Why should EMG programs use Social Media?

  • Social Media provides a unique way to connect with the gardening public.

  • Social Media allows for interaction with non-traditional Extension audiences who utilize the internet as a source of information.

  • Social Media allows clientele to access Extension resources when, where and how they need it.

  • Social Media provides new outreach and teaching venues for EMG Volunteers who are looking for opportunities to enhance their social media skills or who need flexible schedules for fulfilling their program requirements.

  • Social media is fluid, flexible and fun!

How can Social Media be used in an EMG program?

  • "Learn, Reach and Teach" summarizes what the EMG program is all about. Through the EMG program, volunteers:

    • Learn new research-based information about gardening and delivering educational programs,

    • Reach out to others who share their gardening interest, and

    • Teach based on their knowledge and their resources derived from their connection to the Cooperative Extension system.

In addition to facilitating the exchange of  gardening knowledge, social media provides a platform for EMG programs to:

  • Share events and announcements

  • Share information and photos related to plant diseases, pest outbreaks and other emerging gardening issues

  • Provide educational resources in response to questions

  • Build the online gardening community

  • Strengthen the Extension Master Gardener program

How was this site created?
  • This training was developed by the Extension Master Gardener Social Media Task Force which consists of Extension Master Gardeners, Extension Master Gardener Coordinators and other Extension Specialists. Please submit your questions to members of the training task force.
Interested in learning more about the social media training site and resources?
Extension Master Gardeners, EMG Coordinators/Social Media Managers, and Extension specialists/agents >>> Start here

in cooperation with the Network Literacy Community of Practice