Does the pit need stirring?

There are more ways of stirring up a slurry pit Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Parking a tractor with a slurry stirrer by the side of the pit suddenly seems so pedestrian. There again, at least with the tractor you’ve less chance of an early bath. The picture is a still from a video available on Facebook but it won’t let the link be shown here.

Now you might ask why the need to keep a slurry pit well stirred should remind me of social media? It’s just that three organisations I’m involved with have been agonising about their internet and social media presence. The embarrassing thing is that when they discuss their website, I haven’t looked at it for months, years, or in some cases, for ever.

Why? Because the websites are worthy, have a lot of very useful documents and suchlike on them available for those who need them. But I’ve never needed them. Why would I go to the website? Anyway, I know who to ask in the real world.

If I want to know something, I’m afraid I go to google or some other search engine and start my search there. Yes, the search engine will probably bring me to one of the websites I know, but a search engine will also take me to other websites which might give me an interesting angle on the issue.

Some websites are just notoriously bad. They’re huge, and the internal search function doesn’t work too well. is a bit like that. It can be faster using a search engine that drops you to the right page faster than the website does.

But the thing about all this is that it’s work. You go on the webpage when you need stuff. So I was asked by somebody if I’d seen something on the Rural Payments Agency website. The answer was ‘No’ because I go on that website perhaps twice a year. When I go on, I’m doing a specific job, I’m busy, I just want the information I want. So I’m not going to wander round the website ‘whilst I’m there’ seeing what else they’ve go.

It has occurred to me that we have two internets, the ‘worthy’ and the ‘fun’. The organisations that have the most reach are the ones who realise this and have the courage to go out there and be ‘fun’. In case you’ve not come across them, the Orkney Library is an example of how you do this. They have 73.9K twitter followers. Given that the population of Orkney is just over 22K it’s obvious that they’ve got a large international following.
They tweet with a photo of the queue waiting for the library to open (a duck), and you get a running update of the two doves who’re building a nest on the drainpipes. As well as this they have updates on local archaeological excavations, news on fun new books that the library has acquired (Dancing with Cats) and knitted hats for a project they’re running. All profusely illustrated.

The problem with social media is that it’s the clash of two different worlds. There are people who want to have fun and keep in touch with friends, and there are people who want to sell them stuff.

I confess I’m probably in the second category. I joined Facebook back in about 2009 because when doing freelance journalism, searches would take me onto Facebook. So I set up an account and a Facebook page. Facebook even ended up with an old email address that died when I changed ISP and it was six or seven years before I had to give them one that worked. My Facebook page was specifically set up so nobody could find it or post to it. It wasn’t until 2011 when I had a book to sell that I started posting stuff on Facebook.

You soon learn that screaming ‘buy my book’ is never going to work. I would suggest that 99.999% of people who come onto Facebook do so with no intention of ever buying books from people haranguing them on the platform. Indeed I understand this entirely because I too am irritated by adverts that appear on my news feed. But then I tend to deal with this by rarely looking at my news feed. When I come on to Facebook, I’ll check for messages. Various friends and family members tend to prefer to contact people through messenger. In the past I’ve had to explain, slowly and carefully, and in some cases multiple times, that the only time I see Facebook is when I’m at home on the PC. I’ll check the notifications, perhaps skim a couple of groups I follow and then I’ll leave Facebook and do something more interesting.

So if you’re going to the trouble of having a ‘web presence’, perhaps that’s the answer. If you want people to take any notice of you, you’ve got to be more interesting, you’ve got to be fun.

Which brings us back to our video, it was posted by who specialise in slurry technology. If you go on their Facebook page, you’ll see the video. It has to be admitted that they got my attention in a way that a page of slurry pump specifications would never have managed.

So whenever any organisation asks my opinion of their website now, I just ask them how pious and worthy they intend to be. I am coming to the conclusion that if they are on the worthy end of the spectrum, they’re wasting money spending a fortune on a web designer.  Frankly I suspect that all their website needs is a real world address, a phone contact number, a brief guide to the organisation and an email address. Because who is ever going to look at more?


There again, what do I know? Ask the expert, available from Amazon in paperback and ebook,

or from everybody else but Amazon at

As a reviewer commented, “Another gentle and entertaining read about the pros and cons of Farming, ably assisted by Sal the collie dog and Billy the feral farm cat.
As always, I’m amazed Farmers make enough money to keep their farms and families going, given the ‘guidance’ given by the ‘experts’ in government and the Civil Service…”

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18 thoughts on “Does the pit need stirring?

  1. Chel Owens May 1, 2021 at 4:50 am Reply

    When my mother tried being a realtor, she had classes and lectures and pamphlets on advertising through Facebook. She (aptly, in my opinion) found it a waste of time.

    I agree about the fun aspect being necessary, but also add that fun and interesting don’t always sell a product. I remember discussing a popular YouTube video with my husband; he said that, while the creator had so many ‘likes’ and views, whatever it was he was selling did not increase revenue.

    • jwebster2 May 1, 2021 at 5:14 am Reply

      I never bother about advertising as such on facebook. Indeed most people don’t go on social media to buy stuff, if anything it’s the opposite.
      I suppose that it helps build a ‘presence’
      So we now know about a Dutch company with a great strapline producing slurry equipment.
      Perhaps a hundredth of a percent of the people who see the video will ever need them, but those who do might think of them at the right time 🙂
      Perhaps 🙂

      But it’s a cool video and somebody had a lot of fun making it which is probably what counts

  2. rootsandroutes2012 May 1, 2021 at 4:58 am Reply

    A check on the company website cited might or might not lead you to the video (in my case, it didn’t). Even so, it’s worth a visit if only for their endearing strapline – perhaps the only words in English on the site.

    BTW, what’s a news feed 🙂

    • jwebster2 May 1, 2021 at 5:11 am Reply

      It’s your page on Facebook, the bit you get when you click the house at the top
      I tried to put the video in but because it’s a facebook video and WordPress and Facebook don’t talk to each other for doubtless excellent monopolistic reasons, it won’t even show the link
      You have to go to the company facebook page
      I love the way the strapline is in English 🙂

  3. Eddy Winko May 1, 2021 at 6:37 am Reply

    Love the strap line 🙂
    Its most definitely about having a presence, my wife will post pretty pictures of the latest product and its production on Instagram (a cute child or baby goat added for good measure)
    This is automatically posted to Facebook and the combined likes add up, but the key to success is the number of shares she gets, often reaching thousands, this then leads to people visiting the website and hopefully buying something. But the hit rate is always very low, maybe 10 new orders from a 1000+ views of Facebook. Still not to be sniffed at for little more work than half an hours taking pictures and adding a friendly message.
    I have noticed that the more successful you become in doing this yourself the more expensive the adverting rate becomes if you want Facebook to ‘promote your business’, but I think Zuckerberg has enough already so we shy away from paying 🙂

    • jwebster2 May 1, 2021 at 6:45 am Reply

      I tend to work in a similar manner. I’ve avoided Amazon ads, far too expensive. So the blog points people at my books and Facebook points people to my blog as well as to my books.
      But ten orders per thousand views is good going

      • rootsandroutes2012 May 1, 2021 at 8:21 am

        Might that depend on what Eddy is selling?

      • jwebster2 May 1, 2021 at 8:52 am

        It does but apparently the rate isn’t very good. Even if it’s something everybody needs, they probably have a reliable source of supply anyway.

  4. Stevie Turner May 1, 2021 at 11:21 am Reply

    I avoid Amazon ads too, as I don’t want to be in people’s faces all the time. They’ll buy my books if they want to, and they do every month, although some months are better than others. I think the best thing to do in order to gain readers is to write interesting or informative blogs with the odd ‘buy my book’ promo blog sandwiched in there from time to time.

    • jwebster2 May 1, 2021 at 11:48 am Reply

      That’s been the policy I’ve drifted into 🙂

  5. Cathy Cade May 4, 2021 at 11:57 am Reply

    Although I realise some people are trying to make a living from their blogs I do get irritated by pop-ups that zoom out at me (including those ‘accept all cookies’ ones) while I’m trying to read something. Especially the ads that don’t display a visible little cross or ‘close’ box. I have been known to abandon the web page.

    • jwebster2 May 4, 2021 at 12:09 pm Reply

      Yes. I confess I lack ambition to expect to make money out of my blog. Or perhaps I’ve mastered humility? 🙂
      With my blogs, the cookie stuff I can do nothing with, it’s wordpress and they do it without me.
      Same with the ads, I’ve got the freebie account and ad revenue goes to other, more savvy individuals.
      I do agree with you in that I’ve been known to just abandon pages out of a sense of irritation after yet another chuffing advert appears.

  6. M T McGuire May 4, 2021 at 9:39 pm Reply

    Totally agree to being fun. Then you have to get noticed … 🙂

    • jwebster2 May 5, 2021 at 4:39 am Reply

      The latter is the clever trick everybody is looking for 🙂

  7. Lars May 6, 2021 at 11:23 am Reply

    Great blog! Greetings from

    • jwebster2 May 6, 2021 at 11:37 am Reply

      Welcome aboard 🙂
      A brilliant video, you can come and stir our slurry pit any time you want 🙂

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