Document Type : Regular articles


University College Dublin


The aim of this paper was to report an action research that examined the potential of social media as a tool for knowledge transfer in agricultural extension. The research focused on developing group Facebook pages that were designed for adult farmers. A total of 49 participants who were already members of four separate discussion groups were instructed on the practical aspects of using Facebook. Their participation in the Facebook pages was monitored for the duration of the experiment (from February 2013 to January 2014) by examining the frequency with which they logged into their accounts and the nature of their contributions. The participants’ level of uptake of social media was measured and their experience with using social media was evaluated by administering a questionnaire to all 49 participants. The majority of the participants had a positive experience when using social media for knowledge transfer purposes. The research found no association between age and social media usage; however, computer skills were significantly and positively associated with social media usage. Internet access was also associated with usage – those with wireless broadband internet connections in their family homes had the highest usage levels. The research presented in this paper illustrates that social media can be an effective tool for knowledge transfer in agricultural extension.


Main Subjects

Ali, J. (2012). Factors affecting the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for farming decisions. Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 13 (1), 78-96. doi: 10.1080/10496505.2012.636980

Asenso-Okyere, K., & Mekonnen, D. A. (2012). The importance of ICTs in the provision of information for improving agricultural productivity and rural incomes in Africa. African Human Development Report. UNDP Sponsored research Series.

Brogan, C. (2010). Social media 101. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American journal of sociology: S95-S120.

Cormode, G., & Krishnamurthy, B. (2008). Key differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. First Monday 13, no. 6.

Dethier, J. J., & Effenberger, A. (2012). Agriculture and development: A brief review of the literature. Economic Systems 36, no. 2, 175-205.

Dhakar, K. S., Singh, S., Sathwane, R. A., Niranjan, H. K., & Patel, A. (2013). Utility perception of farmers in relation to modern mass media under information communication technology in Rewa District (MP). Environment and Ecology 31, no. 2C, 1022-1025.

Eijkman, H. (2008). Web 2.0 as a non-foundational network-centric learning space. Campus-Wide Information Systems 25, no. 2, 93-104.

Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication 13, no. 1, 210-230.

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication 12, no. 4, 1143-1168.

Facebook, (2018). Facebook Reports First Quarter 2018 Results. Retrieved from

Hargittai, E. (2010). Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?. First Monday 15, no. 8.

Howley, P., O Donoghue, C., & Heanue, K. (2012). Factors Affecting Farmers’ Adoption of Agricultural Innovations: A Panel Data Analysis of the Use of Artificial Insemination among Dairy Farmers in Ireland. Journal of Agricultural Science, 4(6), 171-179. doi: 10.5539/jas.v4n6p171

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business horizons 53, no. 1, 59-68.

Kilpatrick, S. (1997). Education and training: Impacts on profitability in agriculture. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Vocational Education Research 5, no. 2.

LeBoeuf, J. (2012). Exploring Social Media and Smartphone Use in Ontario Agriculture. 1st ed. [eBook] Ontario: University of Guelph. Available at:

Macken-Walsh, A., High, C., & Horan, B. (2011). Applying Sociology to Agricultural Extension: A Multi-Actor. Approach. paper presented at the XXIV European Congress for Rural Sociology, Chania, Crete, (pp. 22-25). Book of Abstacts by working group, 68.

Mains, M., Jenkins-Howard, B., & Stephenson, L. (2013). Effective use of Facebook for Extension Professionals. Journal of Extension, October 51, No. 5.

Mittal, S., & Mehar, M. (2016). Socio-economic factors affecting adoption of modern information and communication technology by farmers in India: Analysis Using Multivariate Probit Model, The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 22:2, 199-212, doi: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.997255

Prokopy, L. S., Floress, K., Klotthor-Weinkauf, D., & Baumgart-Getz, A. (2008). Determinants of agricultural best management practice adoption: evidence from the literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 63, no. 5, 300-311.

Rao, S., & Malhan, I. V. (2008). Transforming Indian farmers to reach the next level of the green revolution through communication of strategic knowledge and increased use of ICTs. The International Information & Library Review 40, no. 3, 171-178.

Rennie, F., & Mason, R. (2005). Bits or Baubles: The opportunities for broadband to add value to education and learning. Scottish Affairs 53, no. 1, 31-47.

Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up Digital. New York, United States: McGraw-Hill.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. (2010). Innovating the 21st-century university: It’s time!. Educause review 45, no. 1, 16-29.

Taragola, N., Van Lierde, D., & Gelb, E. (2009). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Adoption in Horticulture: Comparison of the EFITA, ISHS and ILVO Questionnaires. XVI International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management 831, 73-82.

Teagasc, (2012). Teagasc Best Practice in Extension Services- Supporting farmer innovation. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, Ireland, Teagasc.

Varner, J. (2012). Agriculture and Social Media. Mississippi State Unniversity.

Walsh, K. (2010). Rural poverty and social exclusion on the island of Ireland: Context, policies and challenges. Scoping Paper prepared for the Pobal All-Island Conference “New Ideas, New Directions” on 21st October. 2010.

Warren, M. F. (2007). The digital vicious cycle: Links between social disadvantage and digital exclusion in rural areas. Telecommunications Policy 31, no. 6, 374-388.

World Bank. (2011). Mobile Applications for Agriculture and Rural Development. Washington D.C.