After a panel at the recent Society of Wine Educators Conference, someone from the audience asked me if she should start a blog, specifically whether social media had eroded blogs to the point of being useless. Given the fast pace of change in the interwebs, are blogs redundant in an age of status updates?
Blogging isn’t dead. Far from it, in fact. It’s easy to see the appeal since it is free, instantaneous, open to all and has a global reach. The trouble is that it takes time and doesn’t generate much (if any) money. As much as I like Twitter, the comment threads generated beneath blog posts are easier to follow than the fast-moving, often disparate responses on Twitter. Facebook has a similar comment structure to blogs but it is more functionally limited than blogging, since there aren’t a lot of long Facebook status updates. Facebook and tweets are good components to blogs, even if quick reactions to blog posts do tend to come in more via Facebook and Twitter and have eroded somewhat comments on blogs. But on the whole, it’s about a conversation and Facebook and Twitter have made people more willing to engage in the conversation. This is the way more of us talk about wine today and in the future: discussion has become much more lateral, rather than the top-down, scores-handed-down-like-manna-from-Heaven model that prevailed for at least a couple of decades.
The lack of revenues remains the biggest stumbling block for blogging. But good blogging has been shown to enhance reputations and, unlike Facebook or Twitter, the blogger can own the platform. So my advice to the woman from the audience remains: if you blog, blog for love, not money, to keep it fun and free of conflicts of interest. There’s always space for someone who has an original angle, a distinctive voice, who is willing to join the larger conversation of wine online, on Facebook and especially Twitter.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a wine blog today?