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Is social media the missing link for farmers?

29 November, 2012

According to University of Canberra researchers, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook might be the best tools for Murray-Darling farmers to communicate with government and other agencies.

A new collaborative project led by a University of Canberra team of researchers is exploring the use of social media as an effective communication vehicle between stakeholders in the region.

Assistant professor in management Dr Matthias Muskat, one of the chief investigators on the project, said the use of new communication technologies could help the government better inform the community of their plans and for the community to share in the information.

"We think that by identifying the factors that have become barriers to the communication between these groups, such as power relationships, a more fluid and effective communication can emerge," Dr Muskat said.

The project, which involves collaboration from researchers at the University of Canberra and James Cook University, will investigate drivers and obstacles for using social media between those involved in water reform and rural communities.

Dr Muskat explains that this effort will look at how different demographics use social media and whether it is leading to community change in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Dr Muskat is joined on the team by fellow chief investigators assistant professor in marketing Raechel Johns and assistant professor in tourism Birgit Muskat.

This research is part of Murray-Darling Basin Futures (MDBfuturesCRN), a comprehensive cross-disciplinary collaboration network between four Australian universities and key government partners that will bring together extensive expertise to generate relevant research towards building resilience in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Led by the University of Canberra, MDBfuturesCRN commenced in 2011 and will receive $6.3 million in funding from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) over three years. An additional $6.1 million in cash and in kind contributions from partners will be injected into the project.

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