Posts Filed Under wine blogging
Wanna take a survey?
Oh, c’mon. It’ll be fun!
Some of you out there might remember Tracy Rickman, who co-chaired one of the break-out sessions at the first North American Wine Bloggers Conference. Tracy is a Consumer Research doctoral candidate at Auburn University, and her dissertation pertains to wine blogs as an information source, with a focus on adding to the theories regarding media studies. You can see Tracy in action at the WBC by checking out the videos from the break-out sessions.
I guess in a way wine blogs are her guinea pigs. Which I can totally respect, since it means that someone is paying attention to us! Anyway, as far as I’m aware there is no hidden agenda on Tracy’s part, just the pursuit of knowledge (and of course her dissertation).
As the next phase of her dissertation work, Tracy is conducting a survey about readers’ experiences with wine blogs. This means that YOU have a chance to influence what might be the only study of its kind with respect to wine blogging.
The survey itself will take you maybe 15-20 minutes to complete, and will be open for about two weeks. According to Tracy, currently there is about a 38% completion rate for the survey – which good, but I know that you people can do way better than that!
Anyway – head over to dbm.questionpro.com and lend a hand by taking Tracy’s survey. You can even use 1WineDude.com as the survey topic – just try not to say too many bad things about me, okay?
Or is that Whom Do You Love?
I usually get flamed for writing about writing about wine, so I’m donning the asbestos undies for this one. Bring on the heat, baby! ‘Cause I’ve got (yet another) bone to pick with the world of wine writing (this includes wine blogging, and hence includes 1WineDude). Mainly, the rub is this:
Why is it that so many wine writers seem to be writing for each other, and not for wine consumers?
It’s no secret that wine consumers themselves are getting into the wine writing space, evidenced by the explosion of wine blogs over the last two years. In many ways, 1WineDude is itself a product of that movement to involve consumers more directly in wine appreciation and critique. When it comes to wine, I’m not a professional per se, but I’m a bit like what we in the IT department call a “super-user” – I’m one of those people that other users come to when they need to know more, but don’t have access to the inside scoop. Yes, I consult, but I don’t make or sell wine – so I view myself primarily as a consumer of wine who somehow forced himself through a crack in the door to take an inside look at how the industry works.
I love the fact that wine consumers are blogging (even if they’re not as “serious” as I am about the writing aspect) and are causing the industry to rethink its product and how it engages those consuming it. That’s good for everyone (except possibly Wine Spectator), and in that way “wine writers” (if that term is extended to include people writing about wine, not just those who make their living at it) are indeed writing for one another – in a very good way with increasingly positive results.
Take someone like The Wine Whore, whose blog unabashedly exists solely on the premise that it will feature a wine review in exchange for receiving a sample (no guarantee it will be positive, thankfully). A lot of people (especially wine writers) will probably hate that idea.
I love that idea.
I love the fact that it’s ballsy and turns the question of wine writing “ethics” on it’s ear. Am I saying that just about anything is “okay” so long the author is upfront and transparent about the premise? When it comes to blogging, yes, I am saying that. Ideas like this one put the power in the hands of the readers, and effectively they get to decide if any core ethical questions are violated by the premise.
The more I think about it, the more brilliant I think idea behind The Wine Whore is (though I receive far too many samples now to effectively steal it!). It’s ultra-cheap publicity for a winery, retailer, or distributor, and it’s useful and entertaining for other wine drinkers. Many wine writers will bristle at The Wine Whore’s premise, but the blog is getting wines and you need to admire the gumption of someone who’s willing to throw that caution to the wind, challenge the wine writing paradigms, and share their thoughts with other wine consumers.
But there are wine writers in wine mags, and in well-established and “serious wine blogs” (if the term is extended to include A- and B-list wine bloggers, which arguably includes 1WineDude if we collectively lower our standards just enough for a moment or two here) that don’t seem to give a crap about wine consumers. They seem to be writing more for one other without taking a consumer view.
I won’t be naming names, and I don’t dismiss this as flippant or somehow wrong – because we’re talking blogs here, and the basic premise behind blogs is that you can write about whatever the hell you like, and all of your real-world certifications and credentials don’t mean jack if you don’t contribute something meaningful to the on-line conversation. I just think it’s a shame to spend all of that talent and potential in writing for other writers. Don’t we have chat rooms and forums for that? Sometimes I think that wine writers, when they lack inspiration for writing about wine, instead write about writing about wine (case in point: this article! oh… the irony…).
Or, even more absurdly, when they are really bored, they attack other wine writers for not meeting their personal blogging or writing standards. Personally, I find this extremely boring reading. Do consumers really enjoy that, or are they just temporarily entertained by the ensuing on-line cat fight, sort of like a sad reality show featuring frustrated and drunk wine writers. I can’t imagine it increases consumers’ appreciation for wine or their opinion of wine writing…
If you’re a “serious” wine writer, or even a wine hobbyist blogger who wants to detail his or her tasting notes and publish them for other to read on the web, stop for a moment and really consider why you’re writing, and who you want to benefit from reading your thoughts. It can’t hurt, and it may just bring some clarity to what you want (or don’t want) to achieve. Who do you love?
As a consumer, consider why you’re reading what a writer is telling you about wine, and if you feel that they really have your best interests at heart – because if they don’t, there is no dearth of competition for your attention at the moment.
But then, I’m the kind of guy who thinks fighting should not be allowed in ice hockey, so what they hell do I know…
(images: uglyradio.wordpress.com, winewhoreblog.com, si.com)
This is an article about wine blogging.
Yeah, I know… at least I saved it for Friday when most people (myself included) head offline to mingle and sip in the “real” world (translation: my traffic stats take a dive).
Topic the First: What happened to 1WineDude.com ?
First, those of you visiting 1WineDude.com will (hopefully, anyway, depending on your level of sobriety at the time) have noticed that the site is now hosted at totally new digs.
But it’s the same old Dude. New Label, Same Plonk!
I’ve tried, in what for me is a very non-lazy, industrious way – to minimize the disruption to you, my readers. What this means is that all of the old articles, posts, and comments have been migrated over to the new digs, and you e-mail subscribers out there should be receiving new update with no disruption.
What is doesn’t mean is that links to previous 1WineDude.com articles will translate automatically to their new digs counterparts. Hey, I said I tried to minimze the disruption in a way that was industrious for me. If you can figure out a way to link up the old and new posts that won’t cost me any more time, money, or frustration, then I’m all ears, bro’!
Aside from the new look, the Comments engine has been totally replaced, and I’m trying to setup automatic updates that will provide a weekly summary post of my twitter wine mini-reviews. Should be fun!
At some point (soon), the previous 1WineDude.blogspot.com address will forward here. When I get around to it, that is (in other words, when I figure out the redirection code).
Anyway – suggestions for the new site? Comments? Shout ’em out!
Topic the Second: Are Wine Bloggers Already Going Mainstream?
My intention is not to lose friends with this post, but I do expect some feathers to be ruffled on this next topic.
A recent episode of the fine radio program Wine Biz Radio caused my ears to perk up Underdog-style when I heard them discussing a venture by wine & technology think-tank group VinTank.
VinTank is in the process of compiling a Social Media report for the wine industry. Not that big of a deal, really – unless you happen to be a wine blogger. According to Open Wine Consortium mastermind, Wine Bloggers Conference co-founder, and VinTank member Joel Vincent:
“In order to create an overall picture of the wine “Social Media”
landscape, [VinTank] will establish a directory of which micro-publishers
(blogs) are interesting and worth wineries spending time with as well
as evaluating “social networking” sites related to wines in order to
enable the mapping of their particular strengths to a wineries business
objectives and strategic marketing plan.
In other words, the VinTank survey and report will concentrate on wine blogs. My thoughts on hearing this were myriad and conflicted, but in summary can be boiled down to the following statement:
It’s about time.
According to the Wine Biz Radio broadcast, not all wine bloggers share my viewpoint on this. Apparently, the reaction of a room full of wine bloggers upon hearing that they would be the subject of social media report was a mixture of suspicion and shock.
Which I find sad. I mean, honestly – bloggers spend most of their time examining and then writing their opinions about the work of others (wineries, traditoinal wine media outlets, etc., etc.), and we balk (even if slightly) at the idea of someone examining us? That would make us all too similar to the mainstream media that we like to verbally disembowel on a semi-regular basis.
New Label, Same Plonk!
The reaction I heard described on Wine Biz Radio was old school. Mainstream. Not what bloggers should be shooting for right now.
Ironies aside, this kind of reaction is not going to positively reinforce the strong credibility and influence that wine blogging is gaining in the wine world. Without the kind of work being performed by VinTank, how should we expect the wine industry to get a better handle on that budding new influence?
What’s good for the goose, as they say…
I expect quite a few people to disagree with me here. But… if you’re a wine bloger seething at these words, just do me the courtesy of looking at it this way:
If a traditional wine mag reacted to this in the same way that some wine bloggers have, you’d be all over it. And not in a good way.
Bottom line: Wine bloggers are now a force within the wine industry. We will be scrutinized. Get used to it!
(images: avltheatre.com, vintank.com)