Wine blogging is dead
I have been blogging about wine since June 2001. These days I blog pretty much every day. It’s an important part of what I do.
But I’m not wine blogger.
Blogging is dead.
Blogging is alive, and will continue to be important. But it is dead.
I am a wine communicator, and to communicate effectively, you need to use a number of tools. I write articles, books, blog posts, I tweet, and I post on Facebook. [These last 3 are particularly important, because they are about a conversation; interacting with others.]
I also give talks, host tastings, take part in panel debates and lecture.
I can’t be defined by any one of these activities, although I can be described by them (I am a speaker, a book author, etc). I don’t mind being called a blogger in this sense, but it doesn’t fully capture what I do, so I don’t want to be defined as one. There’s an important distinction here.
So why is blogging dead?
Clearly, this is hyperbole. I will continue to blog, as will many others. What I’m trying to say is that blogging had this golden age where people were happy to be defined as bloggers, and there was a sense that the blog was supplanting other forms of online communication. Blogging was cool, it was sexy, and it seemed to be the future.
But the golden age of blogging has passed. We’re left with the sense that blogs have never really fulfilled their promise. Within a short time, I don’t think we’ll be describing people as bloggers any more, the way we have been doing for the last few years. Blogs will still be with us, and some will be very important, but they’ll not be centre stage.
Look at wine blogs. There was a time when people were organizing wine blogger conferences, and PRs were reaching out to bloggers, inviting them on press trips specifically tailored for the blogging community, and sending them samples.
But with a few notable exceptions, wine blogs haven’t really achieved any sort of noticeable reach, certainly with regular consumers.
Bloggers have let themselves down a bit, too, lavishing praise on frankly mediocre wines just because the producer has thrown a blogger tasting, or is keen on social media and attends blogger conferences. Some bloggers have sold their souls pretty cheaply, too, when subjected to commercial advances, in part because it has been very hard for them to monetize their activities.
Very few wine blogs have generated any significant traffic levels. And if you look video blogging, you can see from the YouTube viewer count that there aren’t many people who want to watch videos of people tasting wine, unless they are Gary Vaynerchuck, and he’s stopped doing it now.
So should people stop blogging? Not at all. Blogs will continue to be an important communication tool. Blogging is still dead, though.
It’s all about communication. Communicators have never before had access to so many powerful communication tools. In an admission of the way things are changing, the European Wine Bloggers Conference has been renamed this year as the Digital Wine Communications Conference.
Let’s not forget good old-fashioned websites, too. I have maintained my main wineanorak.com site alongside my blog because while the blog is good for some things, it doesn’t work for longer articles. And blogs are spectacularly bad at organizing information in a logical way for later retrieval.
I hope by my slightly hyperbolic assertion about the death of blogs that I haven’t upset you: my intention is to get people to think a bit more about how they communicate. The availability of powerful, free blogging software and the glamour attached to the term blogger has led too many to go straight down the blogging route when it comes to communicating online.
But a blog is just one communication tool, and it suits daily journaling, with small, frequent entries. This is not optimal for some forms of communication, or for some writers. Perhaps you can express yourself better in other online publishing formats? Too many people are trying to make the foot fit the shoe. That’s the wrong way round: find the shoe that fits your particular foot.
I’m in the business of communicating, and to do my job effectively, I need a full suite of communication tools. I am a blogger. But I am not a blogger. Blogging is well and truly alive. But blogging is dead.