When the Cooperative Extension Service began in 1914, the latest technologies that impacted the ways Extension demonstration agents worked with their clientele were the telephone and automobile - and often access to those technologies was sparse. https://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/ipd/apronsandkitchens/items/show/42
Jumping forward to Extension’s centennial celebration in 2014, digital technologies had become the influenential communication media with more 12.7 percent of the world’s population was using the internet (up from less than one percent in 1995). By 2017, that figure had grown to more than 54 percent (https://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm)
At the turn of the 20th century, Extension educators carried new information from our university researchers to our clientele. In the 21st Century, our clientele reach out for the information they need using various digital technologies - often without an awareness of the reliability, validity or motive behind the information they find.
These changes in the ways our clientele seek and receive information highlight the need for Extension to strategically develop and expand its digital presence to ensure that high quality information is accessible for our clientele. They also highlight the importance of providing factual, unbiased, scientifically derived knowledge that helps our citizens improve the social, economic and environmental conditions in which we all live.
It is part of the mission of the Learning and Organizational Development team to help our personnel in all 88 counties in Ohio develop a digital outreach plan that is tailored to local needs so that the life enhancing information Extension provides is always available.