As I am now writing my 5th blog (which means I have no idea what it is I am doing but am willing to continue to do it) I often think that I am talking out loud to myself. That isn't all bad as I frequently use that time for self chastisement, pity and then somewhere in the middle, reflection. When one writes words down, most of us take some moments to ponder their intent and outcome.
Many times, intent is simply pointing the nozzle of strong feelings and letting it rip. The request for better customer service emails of today are easy to write. We have a passion of some injustice, some mistake or missed service. We are clear, usually concise, and have an expected outcome well outlined.
Intent occasionally evolves as a piece is constructed. Writing an opinion or review where the thoughts are coming together is one of these moments. As the writer, you have more clarity than before you wrote it. I often feel this way while writing tasting notes, or in another life, overviews on particular policies and programs. I often have an idea that motivates the first couple of words but the discipline of the writing molds stronger thoughts forward, massages weaker thoughts into better ones.
Writing in my blog, is a very deep and thoughtful experience for me. Maybe it is because I am still new to it. Maybe because the first couple of times you are making it as real as you can. It does rise to a deeper level. By deeper I mean I would not start a conversation with a new person at a reception at the tone level of my blog. The conversation would not last long! The deeper tone I reserve for close friends at a coffee table (My seat is against the wall at the round table in Woodinville Tully's!) or an evening glass of wine with friends.
With Twitter, on the other hand, new follower conversations start as "waiting room banter". "How about them Mariners?" "Can you believe Congress?!" The conversations early on are casual, fast and unless a chosen interest group, easy to walk away from. The longer you follow certain people, the conversations start to evolve but the 140c rule still pushes you to thoughts that are simple to convey.
I relate this to you as Wednesday and Saturday, I will pour wine for one of the most active blogging groups on the web. The Wine Bloggers Convention arriving in Seattle, then on to Woodinville, Yakima and finally Walla Walla, Washington. Most participants are also monster tweeters (good monster!). When one tastes wine with a blogger or sends samples, the end result usually reflects something close to a normal tasting experience. Copious notes, multiple visits to the glass, molding stronger thoughts forward, massaging weaker ones into better ones is the modus operandi of a serious taster. Not only will he or she compare other wines, but years from now, will compare other vintages. You may not agree with some or most wine critics, but they are serious about their craft.
Tweets posted by non bloggers are different. They can convey tag lines, but have no ability to allow information to move. They become more pointers to other sources. They can convey endorsement and are quite valuable for that purpose. I have been lucky to receive these from several well informed wine tasters as they tour locally or at events. They become "spotters" or "scouts" in this context. They see a wine for you in broad strokes and let you know where to get it.
Malcom Gladwell ( http://bit.ly/tippinpoint ) wrote a book called The Tipping Point in 2000. In it, he describes society as a social network that allows ideas and products to spread as viruses after a "moment of critical mass" is reached. The key accelerators to this system are Mavens, Connectors and Salesman.
Mavens are the information specialists. They break down the complex and bring it to us in bites we understand. They relish in details but have a talent for helping us "get it"! In our ethereal internet wine world, our Bloggers are our Mavens. Who else would spend hours ruminating on just the right words to provide us insight into acidity and alcohol!
Twitter provides our Connectors with the system for these Super Tweeters to spread the word. Some of these people are the same, some are not. They are skilled in connecting many people due to their personality or position. Tweet-ups is a recent phenomena in the wine industry that allows you to have access to literally 100's of thousands of people by tasting a very few influential connectors. They have been referred by the social power of you the Twitter / Blogosphere! You are the salesman. You spread the word of who you wish to read, buy from, visit or generally enrich with your endorsement of time and money.
In the world BT (Before Twitter), one expert or two, would announce the king, crown the champion, and deliver the chosen words that would ensure the acceptance of the population. Now, you have the power to choose and be informed by many, easily and in real time. You can select the reviews most germane to your needs, tastes and budget. You have more Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen than you could ever sort. The King is dead, Long Live the King!
Tomorrow, I will pour for a select group of bloggers ( http://bit.ly/WBCBloggers ) . They have a very wide range of wine backgrounds but they all share passion. Read their post and blogs over the next several days and months as they sort out the wines they will taste in Washington. Find some that speak your language and potentially share some of your pallet preferences. If you can, even identify ones that do not. This can be as helpful in the wine world as those that do.
Now to my wine of the week from my tastings. The latest Olsen Estates Late Harvest Golden Berry Select Riesling is just the best dessert wine I have ever had. 100% Botritus! The good news for me is they only made 156 cases! They are grossly underpriced at $57 per 375ml. Superb! Nice job Kyle! Always a good job at Olsen Estates!
Looking forward to meeting many of you this summer at the many events we will be pouring. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Happy Hour Radio: Listen to Wine Talk - Here is a link to last Saturday’s Happy Hour Radio show by Christopher Chan. It features Lisa Baer of Baer Winery, Adean Vitale of Washington Tasting Room ...