TOWNER, N.D. -- There's a lot of crossover between work and pleasure here on the ranch, and that's a good thing. We have horses on the place for work, but they're also a pleasure to use. Others might say the same thing about their four-wheeled ATV, or a nice shop where they service tractors for the farm and tinker with old cars for fun.
Life is good when the things you use to make a living also help you have a life. When I bought my last iPad, I knew it was another tool with a lot of crossover potential.
I bought a little keyboard for it and I've typed a bunch of columns out on it while I've traveled. I suppose I could have written those columns at home before hitting the road but there's no excitement in having them done so far ahead of my deadline. Best to leave them to the last minute, pound them out on that miniature screen and zap them to the editors via cellularphone-signaled email, just under the wire.
Plenty of nonwork logged onto the iPad, too. I do a lot of reading on it, some books, but mostly newspapers. The kids have watched a movie or two on it, and our little girl discovered how much she likes YouTube music videos, especially from a couple of young ladies named Lennon and Maisy.
They were young enough to directly relate to my daughter -- Maisy was 6 in one of the first videos she found. It had more than 2 million views. When they sang "Call your girlfriend," complete with claps and cups, they got 27 million views. From there, they ended up on a television series and the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, where they sang "Ho Hey" and got 8 million views.
Passive pasture cash
Before the songs play on YouTube, there's a quick advertisement, which gave me an idea. Maybe I could make a little extra money with my iPad and its integrated video camera. I could do it myself, no film crew needed with the "selfie" video option and my iPad balanced atop a fencepost or the pickup dashboard out in the pasture. Cowboy Logic could hit YouTube, and rake in some advertising dollars to buy the children new shoes for school.
Granted, it's a crowded field. Every minute (yes, minute), 300 hours (yes, hours) of video is uploaded to YouTube. They have more than a billion users logging billions of views each day, and half of those views are on mobile devices. No wonder tractors need autosteer technology so fields can stay straight while tech-savvy farmers watch mobile YouTube videos.
They even have videos for us up-and-coming YouTube "creators" on how to "monetize" our content in the YouTube "ecosystem." It's the one place where going "viral" is positive. I'd cry if my cattle herd went viral, but it's aerial fist pumps if my video goes viral.
Most of the videos on my YouTube channel are minute-and-a-half long pieces I've done for AgweekTV. Go ahead, search "Ryan Taylor Cowboy Logic" and give them a click. My last upload has 127 views, so it's going to take a while to reach Lennon and Maisy status, and associated ad monetization.
In the meantime, I'm going to step away from the screen, get outside and make sure my cattle don't go viral. Looks as if the calf check is going to outperform my YouTube channel this year, and I'm just fine with that.