I Blog, Therefore I Might Be

Last fall I published a post about our water trough made from a discarded heavy loader tire.  Maybe the topic is of burning interest to the internet, or maybe through some luck I stumbled across the right keywords for search engine optimization.  But it is by far the most popular post on our website.  It consistently garners more than double the hits of our next most popular post (on knife castration for bulls) and doubles again our third place post (on our thoughts about slaughter).  Lesson:  if you are publishing a farm blog, stick with tires and blood.  If you write about pasture, farm equipment, or piglet health you get nothing.  Surprisingly even cute kittens don’t get noticed.

But I’m not sure how to connect blogging activity to farm success.  I’m not even convinced our farm blog leads in any measurable way to success.  It may just be a distraction.  In talking with customers I occasionally learn that they are reading the blog but I’ve never received the impression that the blog swung them over to our side.  In fact, I suspect it has alienated some folks.

This past winter I wrested control of the blog from Rachel (actually, I just decided to start contributing more often) and since then I’ve averaged two posts per week.  That’s about the maximum I can sustain.  I enjoy the outlet for writing and photographing the things I observe around me.  I don’t obsess over the blog, looking at my daily activities and wondering if they are blog-worthy or not.  But the task of creating articles forces me to focus my thoughts and this may be the greatest benefit from the effort.  The benefits of focused thought may be accruing silently and immeasurably.  Who knows, but that I’m much wiser than I was a year ago?  Do I hear someone muttering, “Not likely.”?

So I’m not announcing that I’m quitting.  I have a few more ideas kicking around before I run out of things to write.  I’m just pondering whether the blog makes the internet a better place without actually doing much to help our farm.  Adding nice content to the internet might be noble work, like the thankless task of updating Wikipedia, but in my over-full days I’m not sure I have time for that kind of diffuse altruism; there are more specific, personal avenues of altruism available to me.

If you’ve been blogging or if you’ve quit blogging or if you refuse to blog, let me know what you think about blogging and its impact on your farm/business/cause.  Does it make a difference in sales or customer satisfaction?  Does it help you as a person?  Does it bring your customers/clients/constituents some sense of shared involvement?  And no, you don’t have to respond in the comments section if you don’t want to.  Feel free to email or call or (say what?) drop by.

3 Comments on “I Blog, Therefore I Might Be

  1. There’s too much work on the farm to go on obsessing with blogging. 1 or 2 posts a week is good enough. Like you, writing helps me focus (I also write on old-fashioned paper, my farm journal), and serves as calendar and documentation of farm and related events which I find very useful (I wish I could take note of daily weather/temps, maybe next time). Sometimes there are pretty photos that just need to be shot and shared. These are the only reasons why I’m still blogging.

    By the way, why do you feel that your blog might’ve alienated some folks?

    I got dressed duck sales by writing (snail mail) to people directly, not through blogging. I put up a seed swap announcement on my blog as well as on Facebook, and there has been ONLY 1 response (and she didn’t have any seeds to swap so she sent something else). I couldn’t believe that all those 600+ people on my Facebook page weren’t interested in open-pollinated seeds. I feel frustrated, disappointed, a bit depressed.

    However, people here in our village, our neighbours, are all for exchanging seeds. This little off-line village is still pretty a-OK!

    Thus, I think that the on-line world is really banal and no amount of altruistic blog posts will change that because what we see on-line is also all there is to the world out there. People use their mobile phones to flick through fetish images, to send grunting messages to one another (wouldn’t have been so bad if it were pig grunts, hahaha) and real life in the ‘world out there’ simply reflect such behaviours. The only thing that will make the internet better is when people actually start living REAL lives.

    Sorry for the pessimistic note, but as they say, pessimists are happy when they are proven wrong!

    Have a great New Year, Dave and family!

  2. I certainly enjoy your blog- well written distillation of the one farmer’s activities. Being that I am a village boy, I find your factoids interesting and illuminating; the narrative of your respect for the land and nature almost reads like a spiritual manual. Thank you for writing it. Merry Christmas to you and Rachel and the children.
    Ron Dievendorf

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