It’s funny. When you work in the social media space, lots of times people will ask you what your favorite channel is. It’s a tough choice and it depends on what you want to accomplish. I usually try to just explain how I use the different channels. And usually heads nod as I explain each.
- Since you are here (or reading it through a feed somewhere), you know I think blogging is awesome. It gives me a place to tell stories, to express thoughts on different topics, etc.
- Because I love photography so much, I really love Instagram (I’m JPlovesCOTTON there and I put thumbnails here of a few shots.)
- Having family and friends in various parts of the country and actually on other continents, Facebook is awesome for me keeping up with my people. Its also a great place to post blog content cause there are so many people who check it often.
- Twitter has long been a great venue for me to use as I seek people who share my passions whether that be blogging, agriculture or travel.
- And I keep playing with YouTube…. I always want to do more a bit more there, turning myself into a video producer. I have a few more ideas coming there too.
But one of the channels I frequently point to that I really love, it seems that lots of folks have never heard about it. No, I’m not talking Pinterest (which I have and use on occasion). I’m talking about a site/app called Quora that provides everyone a chance to ask questions they want answers to or answer questions they have experience, expertise or opinions on.
One of the cooler parts of Quora is that as people ask or read questions, is they can ask people to answer it. And as people give answers, others can also endorse answers through upvotes. So your expertise gets recognized over time.
I’ve really enjoyed using Quora for a few years. And although I really enjoy the travel and blogging, lots of people go there with questions about the work I do, the company I work for and some of the products we develop for farmers. Another question went up last week that someone thought I should answer… I decided to give my thoughts. So here’s the question and the answer I gave.
Why don’t Monsanto employees quit the evil company and work somewhere else?
I can’t speak for all my colleagues but will be glad to tell you my thoughts since I work at Monsanto.
The question you ask is based on the assumption that Monsanto (and the work we do) is evil, if that was the case I would not be working there. I have lots of skills that can be used in other companies and industries. But in fact, if you talk with employees at Monsanto like me, you will find we are committed to making a positive difference in agriculture and the world at large. You will find people who work closely with farmers, many of whom grew up as farm kids and spend vacations returning to the farm.
For me, the basis of saying Monsanto is evil is done with the intent of shutting down conversation, eliminating voices from dialogue. The polarization keeps people focused on that rather than the complexities of today’s world where we need to balance resource utilization with feeding ourselves. That’s an intense challenge as we have limited water and land and more and more mouths to feed in our communities. We need to look at the various options and tools and biotechnology or GMOs are one of the tools out there.
So I get to work at a place where we discuss that complexity. Where we look at all the possible solutions. I have gotten to visit small local farms and farms that cover thousands of acres, met farmers who swear by GMOs as the perfect tool for their farm, others who wholeheartedly believe organic is the right direction for them and some who are left with very few tools other than their manual labor trying to produce enough to feed their children this year. All of those farmers have been customers of Monsanto and all of them talk about their challenges with companies like ours. I’ve also gotten to talk with people who are focused on perserving the Brazilian rain forrests, people who are looking at depletion of our aquifers, scientists who have devoted their lives to pollinators and need these challenges taken into account with the big picture of agriculture.
Finally, I’ve written about the “evil” stuff a couple of times on my personal blog if you are interested in reading more. Here’s a link about evil being used to inhibit dialogue and this one is a post about me facing someone who calls Monsanto evil when I introduce myself.
Considering Different Perspectives
One of the reasons I like Quora the most, is that lots of different perspectives are offered on some questions. I see what other people think about a given topic and I get to have my personal perspective considered. There are lots of other answers I have given on Quora about Monsanto my employer, the work we do and more and my answers simply sit alongside the answers other people offer. It is a platform that encourages respectful dialogue and who’s moderators will collapse name-calling or rants that don’t hold substance. I learn a lot by reading various viewpoints.
I know some critics are mobilized this weekend telling their story about us. With that in mind, I thought I’d offer a few other places you can get thoughts on Monsanto from people who are directly connected to Monsanto:
- This winter I did a business trip to talk to media in Ohio about the company. The radio program called Ohio Townhall did a 40 minute interview with me during which they asked all kinds of questions about Monsanto. And the TV show Our Ohio did a two-part TV show (Part 1 and Part 2) that provided a panel discussion about GMOs with farmers who both used them and didn’t.
- League of Nerds — My colleague Vance Crowe did a great podcast with the League of Nerds talking about a variety of topics related to Monsanto.
- It’s Mom Sense — A former colleague wrote Confessions of a Former Monsanto Employee about how conversations go when she’s asks where she used to work.
- The company itself encourages dialogue on Discover.Monsanto.com.
- Alicia writes about her farm with GMOs: The Opposition and Norman Borlaug urging people to be sure they talk to the source rather than blindly trusting others.
- Farmer Katie Pratt writes about how one single word is used as an absolute but their family farm is more than Monsanto.