The surprise of ‘going viral’

Farm Forum

Sometimes things happen, and you never fully understand how it all came about. That’s what happened to me recently.

About a week or so ago, someone, somewhere stumbled upon a blog post that I wrote a little more than two years ago. It was an entertainment piece about how to spend 10 years married to a farmer. It was light-hearted and funny, but nothing too earth shattering. Or so I thought.

Since that day, more than 200,000 people have viewed that post. It’s been shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook. And I’ve had as many as 100,000 people look at my blog per day. The closest I may ever get to being viral.

And I’ll admit that it shook me a bit. Yes, I write to reach people, but I also write because I enjoy it. It feels more like a conversation between friends, not just words on paper. But 100,000? That’s a lot of friends.

I took advantage of the extra traffic and wrote about things that needed to be addressed. I wrote about the farm bill, I wrote about animal care and I wrote about the problems with school lunches. I didn’t intend to have a soapbox placed in front of me, but I wasn’t about to let the opportunity go to waste.

And in turn for reaching out to others, they reached back.

I received requests to reprint my post in several publications, my other posts received more traffic than ever before, and I even received a request for a radio interview with Iowa Public Radio. I couldn’t believe what was happening, and I didn’t even know where it all started!

But the biggest lesson that I learned? The truth is I don’t need to know where it started. I just need to take the opportunity that is given to me and run with it.

Sometimes we spend so much time analyzing what happens and how it happens that we forget to take advantage of the fact that it is happening. We get so wrapped up in the other “stuff” that we over think the enjoyment right out of it.

Here is the beauty of it all, I accomplished all of this, and never left my farm. (Well, except to get groceries, go to work, pick up kids and whatever else life threw at me.) In fact, it had been two years since I even wrote the words that went so viral!

My point is this: You can make a difference and make an impact from where you stand. You don’t have to travel to Washington, D.C., you don’t have to call in to every radio show, you don’t have to send millions of letters around the world. You can. But you don’t have to.

You can simply say a few words from where you are, and let the rest of the world hear what it is that you have to say. But if you never speak up, they will never hear you.

No matter where you are.

Val Wagner loves raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at, or follow one of their cows on Twitter at Cows_Life. Contact her at