Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Want to Be a Wine Blogger When I Grow Up.

It is very doubtful the GenY, GenX and the Boomer generations of wine lovers ever said, "I want to be a wine blogger when I grow up."  

My friend and wine blogging pal, Thea Dwelle of Luscious Lushes got me to thinking about this the other day after she posted the questions,  "Are writers bloggers? Are bloggers writers? Are we the same? Are we different? Should we play by the same rules? What’s going on here?"

Right.  What exactly is going on here?  I started this blog in 2005 and far too many times I  wouldn't talk about it in usual conversations or if someone mentioned my hobby to others, I usually brushed it off, while trying to change the subject.  The idea of wine blogging was just too hard to explain and too many times I was patronized with, "Oh isn't that cute, she writes about wines from Washington DC."  However, things have changed.  I no longer hide my hobby.  I am really proud of what it is and who wine bloggers are. 

Sometimes the public, members of the wine industry, and even wine writers  have looked at wine bloggers as if we were from another world. I especially noticed it at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2009 in Santa Rosa, CA.  There seemed to be several small groups of marketing people who followed some of us around and were quite captivated with the "care and feeding" of wine bloggers. 

Wine blogging is nothing new, but it has certainly evolved.  I'd like to think Robert M. Parker, Jr. as the first wine blogger.  He was an independent who wrote his own "wine consumer guide" and by 1978 he was sending his thoughts about wine via snail mail.  I can see him in my mind's eye now drafting his notes on a yellow legal pad from his law office and finalizing his notes on an old typewriter. 

If Parker would have started his quest to share his wine notes with others during the rise in technology, there would have been advantages to him such as digital communities such as Usenet and BBS (Bulletin Board Systems).  In many ways, these new online services were the earliest form of blogs with their continuing "threads" of single topics.  

Early blogs in the 1990's were really nothing but manually updated diaries or information on standard websites and weren't even referred to as "blogs."   It was later when we saw a unique class of online publishing software that produces the blogs we recognize today. 

So as the number of wine bloggers have grown and we are now holding our own conferences, seminars and being included on lists of media passes at wine events, we are now being scrutinized under the microscope by traditional wine media and even the wine industry.  Sure, we have been criticized by traditional wine media and even traditional media who now have their own wine blogs who will blog parental-type messages to us, "Don't do as I do.  Do as I say." 

In the mean time, wine bloggers are crying like a cheerleader who lost her pom-poms to the football team (if you know what I mean), "Please love me!  Please let me fit in your world oh great King of Wine Media."  And at the same time, we have traditional wine media calling us names such as, "Blobbers, Carping Gadflies and Butt Sniffing Poodles," while they are busy writing their own "new" wine blogs on their mountain tops they have built for themselves and even teaching seminars on wine blogging and social media. Then comes the buffers and the coaches.  They want to wave their magic wand over the wine bloggers and announce, "Ta-Daahh! You are now all wine writers instead of wine bloggers.  You can now enter the kingdom of wine media and go throughout the land feeling better about yourselves."

Here is what I know.  Here is what I was taught when I was a youngster dreaming about being a grade school music teacher and a book author when I grew up: I was taught when someone feels threatened and threatened beyond reason, they resort to name calling (Blobbers, Carping Gadflies, and Butt Sniffing Poodles) and in any kind of a fight or debate, when you resort to name calling, then you have lost the debate.  

As I wrote to Thea in her comment section, in this whole discussion of writer v. blogger, here are two things that I know of as being true for me when I sit down at my computer to write about wine:

When I send an invoice to a publisher and later receive a check in the mail, then and only then, I am a wine writer. When I write about wine during my free and personal time on my blog format with no assistance from an editor, then I am a blogger. Frankly? I am tired of everyone trying to gloss over the term “wine blogger” by trying to make it respectable in the eyes of traditional media. Who gives a flying f ... umm - - fig? Why do we care, especially when we see traditional wine media jumping on the wine blogging bandwagon?  We, as wine bloggers, must be doing something right.  

I am proud to be a wine blogger and the day we all gain that sense of pride and realize the milestones we have made and the crap we have overcome, the better off wine bloggers and the name "wine bloggers" will be.

It is possible though, that someday when we all get this new form of wine media figured out and what direction and the importance wine blogging has in today's wine media, there will be some enthusiastic teen ager with a gift for writing that will someday say, "I want to be a wine blogger when I grow up."
 

2 comments:

Norcal Wingman said...

Catie,
Thanks for this post. I never knew I had a blobber, er.. cough, blogger in me. In all honesty, I used to give my wife a hard time about her mommy blog, but alas here we are writing about something we enjoy, not getting paid for it, just doing it because it gives us joy. We share with the world and expect nothing back (at least I don't expect much back). Every comment I do receive is like an unexpected bonus, that is more than payment enough for this blobber!

Cheers
Brian
norcalwingman

Catie said...

Brian,
And thank you! Thank you for this unexpected bonus. You're so right. We do this out of joy. When I first started my blog I was also hoping, like I do with many things in my life, that my blog would take me on a great unknown adventure. I wanted to learn a lot and meet new people. So far, it hasn't let me down. Thanks for stopping by.
Cheers,
C~