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.