Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Water 'n Poo: a retrospective

It was a beautiful late-September day in 2009, and the air was alive with the sounds and smells of the dairy farm. I was engaged in the rather monotonous job of filling our honeywagon up with manure at our storage tank, discharging it on hay fields, and returning for another round. With no working radio in the tractor to distract me from my boredom, I began to entertain myself by making up song lyrics describing what I was doing. As word after word, line after line started coming together to an old country music tune, I realized that I was crafting something that could potentially entertain and educate people about what I was doing in the field that day. After a couple of hours of  thoughtful composition and rehearsal I pulled into a field with a full load, pulled out my smartphone, pressed the "record" button on its video camera, and the rest is history.

Three years later, I just smile and shake my head when I think about "Water 'n Poo". While I thought a few people might enjoy the novelty of it, I never expected it to be more popular than the other farm videos I had posted in the previous months. And while it easily accounts today for far more "views" than any other video I have ever published, the statistics aren't the measuring stick by which  I gauge its impact.

I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked, "You're that Water 'n Poo guy, aren't you?"...I swear I've met at least a quarter of the people who have seen it! I have been told many times via text and Twitter (as recently as today, in fact) that so-and-so was showing it as part of his or her presentation to such-and-such group. And I figure it is at least indirectly responsible for half of the interview and speaking requests I've received since I published it. So for better or worse, me and that video are pretty well tied together in people's minds.  And based on the feedback I've received, it's been relatively successful in accomplishing the two primary goals of all of my videos: showing folks the good things that are happening on my farm and encouraging other farmers to do the same. 

For all the attention "Water 'n Poo" has brought my way, it has about run its course and will eventually reside in that dusty corner of the internet where it will only be seen by folks who accidentally happen upon it. I'm afraid it doesn't have enough "depth of message" to enjoy the same staying power of some farm videos or the glitzy production value and mainstream appeal of some others. But it is what it is: raw, simple, and genuine. It reminds me of a time when using social media seemed more like an exciting exploration than a routine obligation, and I had a blast making it! I want to thank all you folks who have taken 2 minutes and 32 seconds out of your busy lives to watch it, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about nutrient management along the way.

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