Agriculture gets its own Mean Tweets segments

Apr 26, 2016

Industry professionals read tweets from the public

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segments, where celebrities, athletes and even President Obama read real Twitter messages from the public has become a part of pop culture and spurred spinoffs for different industries.

Agriculture can now be added to the list of industries with its own “Mean Tweets” segment.

The two-part video series features professionals from around the industry including Sandi Brock, Kevin Folta, Kathryn Doan and Wendell Schumm reading real tweets they, or their colleagues, have received.

People involved with the video’s creation said part of the message was to stand up to some of the negativity surrounding ag.

“Again and again we were continually shocked by the things that people were willing to say and accuse of fellow human beings,” said Bruce Sargent of Farm Boy Productions, who produced, filmed and edited the videos. “But there were a lot of times when people couldn’t get through it without laughing. You have to laugh because it shows we’re not going to let the negativity rule the conversation.”

While for the most part the readers would laugh at what was said, at least one tweet received an emotional reaction.

Kevin Folta, a professor and chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida, read a tweet where a user describes how they may not pursue an academic career – the tweet clearly choked Folta up.

“That was a very organic human reaction,” Sargent said. “The reason I used it is because we were having fun and laughing, but at the end of the day it does hurt. Lots of people interact on social media regularly and are hurt by what is said.”

The videos contain strong language.

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