So you’re thinking about starting your own AgVocacy blog? Have you thought of a pen name yet? The Chick Wire, formerly known as Farm Barbie, advises getting your name trademarked and protecting your intellectual property.
Barbara Siemen, aka The Chick Wire, shared her insight at the AgChat Foundation’s 2016 Cultivate & Connect conference in Kansas City last week. After losing her identity as Farm Barbie earlier this year due to a legal battle with Mattel, the Michigan farmer learned some hard lessons along the way.
“I felt Farm Barbie was the first thing I had ever done on my own and I was really proud of that, and they were taking it away from me for a silly reason,” Siemen said as she reflected on receiving that first letter from Mattel on April Fool’s Day this year.
After 30 days of true soul searching, spending a heap of money on a lawyer, and being physically and mentally sick, Siemen has found a new voice and a new name through podcasting. Her new venture is The Chick Wire, where she only interviews women. While each woman is extremely talented in her own endeavor, not all of the women are from agriculture. Ag is something Siemen always talks about at some point during her interview though.
“I wanted to be in their ears. That’s why I went with podcasting as my purpose,” Siemen said. “We’re all broke and we all have layers and when you try to hide that, that is when the phoniness shows through. Through this podcast, I’m sharing more about me.”
Siemen doesn’t want beginning AgVocates to make the same mistakes she did when she started Farm Barbie. The Chick Wire offered AgChat members these tips when creating your own ag identity in social media:
- Create a business out of it. Start with a CPA. File all appropriate documents with the government.
- File for a federal EIN.
- Consult a lawyer educated with experience in your field, or field of interest, for example a trademark lawyer familiar with USPTO.
- Protect your intellectual property.
- Look at other bloggers’ pages and consult resources for how to write proper legal comments, policies, disclosures, and common courtesies on your page.
- Finally, be smart, cover your bases, be patient with others and yourself, and ask for help if you need it.