Link Farm Project, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, successfully introduced the SNS platform to the digitally underprivileged living in rural areas in hopes of enhancing communication between farmers and urbanities during the last week of February.
In order to achieve this, Link Farm created a direct trading application that simplifies the steps and menus for farmers to gain easier accessibility which will be launched in April. University students visited farmers across the country to help them meddle with various social networking service, so that they could promote their products online.
The SNS education included ways to take pictures, recommending marketing phrases, and acquiring netiquette.
“The first thing we taught them was to help them take a selfie,” said Kang Min-su, a member of the Link Farm Project. “This was in order to raise their interest in using technology and also use it for various social media like Instagram and YouTube.”
The goal of the project was to encourage farmers directly trade by providing access to social commerce or social networking services through the Link Farm App, which will serve as a bridge for farmers and urbanites to communicate easily. However, there were some difficulties to overcome in order to make progress.
“The most challenging part during our visit was that the elders were rather reluctant towards using technology and the app itself,” Kim said. “They didn’t understand why they needed to use the app because it felt so complicated and difficult. But, once we got closer with them and helped them send their pictures to their grandchildren, they became more open towards learning”.
Moreover, Kim expressed frustration on how there is a fixated stereotype on people who live in rural areas which deters them from learning new and effective ways to sell their products.
“There is an insinuated prejudice on farmers, for example, that they do not use smartphones at all and will have difficulties using digital devices,” Kim said. “Nevertheless, there are farmers who use smartphones more than we think and they catch up pretty quickly when we taught them new things. I think that the stereotype on farmers in rural areas discourage them to use technology, without knowing how efficient they could be.”
Kim believes that this misunderstanding and lack of communication could lead to a more serious social problem.
“Especially these days, there are people who label impolite expressions to call the elders and disrespect them,” Kim said. “I think this happens because we lack communication. I feel that there should be more opportunities where the youth and the elders get together.”
Finally, Kim explained how the Link Farm project ended up being a good opportunity for the elders to prepare for the high-tech society. The project was not only about helping farmers with their business but also encouraging them to communicate with urbanities and ameliorate the disconnection.
“I felt proud when the elders thanked me for helping them text and send pictures to their grandchildren,” Kim said. “I think it was a really good idea to deliver the SNS platform as the farmers are not only able to sell their products but also to stay connected.”