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Amish Businesses Use Facebook to Connect

June 20, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

What do you think when you hear the word Amish? Perhaps you imagine a horse and buggy or bucolic farm scenes. But a Facebook profile? In Amish Youth Hitchin’ Up to Facebook, Lancaster (PA) Sunday News’ Gil Smart reports on local Amish who, along with half a billion other people, are using the social network to connect.

Although the number of Amish users is believed to be small, Facebook is being used by some during a period of life called rumspringa, which is a time for teenagers to flirt with “worldly” ways (such as driving a car or wearing modern clothes) before they formally join the Amish church. These teens are typically only Facebook friends with other Amish teens, according to the article.

But the social networking site is also used by Amish businesses to promote their products. For example, Gil shared that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profiled a group of Amish families who started an organic farm cooperative and used Facebook to market the food. The co-op works with a non-Amish group to execute the marketing and PR.

As an Amish-country native, I’ve had the opportunity to interview several Amish entrepreneurs over the years, many of whom utilized computers and cell phones to conduct business. One Amish business owner I spoke with kept his computer in the barn and would often respond to my email messages at 4 a.m.—right before he would help his wife milk the family cows! So I’m not really surprised to learn that some Amish entrepreneurs would leverage the power of social media to build business.

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. The key take-away for me from Amy’s post was the term “Amish entrepreneur.” Entrepreneurs recognize and respond to emerging trends in a manner that results in sustainable value. Outside of the Amish community, the commonly held notion is that technology is a “must have” for the entrepreneur’s toolbox. Therefore, my first thought was … is the term “Amish Entrepreneur” an oxymoron?

    As I am not Amish, I cannot say. I suspect though that the Amish, like the non-Amish, adhere to values as is relevant to their beliefs. Is a FB-enabled Amish business an anomaly? Probably. Will it continue to be an anomaly? It depends. Will other methods of blending modern and traditional emerge to enable Amish entrepreneurs? Already have. See http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_737061.html and http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jan2010/sb2010014_284280.htm.

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