No More Wine Media
One of the requirements of my particular job is to consume media…lots of it, hourly, seven days a week. The requirement is dictated by the necessity I feel to have a grip on the general cultural and social atmosphere Wark Communication’s clients are working within. There is an ever-changing context of ideas and trends that affects the way most people perceive ideas, products and activities. I feel like a good PR dude needs to have a grasp on this context and its various levels in order to properly represent his clients.
So to that end I consume the delivery vehicle for cultural and social context: media. Once you have the tools on hand, a good consumption infrastructure set up, and an efficient method for moving through information quickly you’d be surprised just how much information and media you can actually move through. On any given day I’ll get through three newspapers in print, two or three print magazines, five different newspapers on-line, and we haven’t even gotten to the information aggregators on-line.
Four or five times a day I’ll go through my Yahoo homepage where headlines in 40 categories are regularly updates. Bloglines, my blog aggregator, delivers me headlines and partial content for more than 120 different blogs. I check that 2 or three times per day. Then there are the Google Alerts. I have 26 of those set up that deliver to me constant updates on specific terms I want to follow. Some have to do with clients, others with ideas.
Then there is TV and Radio. TIVO has allowed me to really use this medium in a structured way. In a matter of 30 minutes I can move through 5 hours of news and topical shows before I even get to reruns of the Sopranos. I can find out what is scheduled to be put out over the airwaves concerning wine on any given day in a matter of seconds.
So what’s the point?
I tried something this weekend. I went without media. No newspapers, no Internet, no radio, no Tivo, no magazines. It was sort of a toe-in-the-water kind of thing in preparation for a vacation coming up during which I will consume no media whatsoever.
What did I learn?
1. The withdrawal symptoms kick in very quickly.
2. They are easily overcome by maintaining a close proximity to your family and good jazz.
3. Wine tastes just as good (or bad) with or without having current reports on it nearby.
4. It’s true that the only way to give context to one’s culture and society is by consuming its media.
I can’t be sure what the totality of the impact of my massive consumption of media is on my life beyond knowing that it surely does impact it in important ways. I’m not worried about that only because I feel like I have no choice but to continue the consumption. For me the issue is how to consume this, and more, in the most efficient manner and whether or not I’m properly evaluating what I consume.
Looking only at the issue of how wine and wine drinkers and the wine industry is presented in the various media, I know that today it is much easy to have a broad understanding of these topics due to the Internet. I used to subscribe to six newspapers a day and every wine publication in the world, and read it all. The Internet not only allows me to continue to do this, but do it more quickly. But in addition, the Internet allows me inside the heads of a different group: those who’s preoccupation is drinking the stuff rather than selling and writing about the stuff. This is new and a product of the Internet’s chat rooms, blogs, bulletin boards and e-mail.
The picture one gets of the world of wine by combining attention to broad cultural and social trends with attention to expressions of wine’s meaning in the media and among individuals is amazingly deep. I don’t see how any marketer of wine can be anything but better at what they do by diving in to this currently changing whirlpool of ideas, notions, and trends.
What bothers me, however, is what a happy and uneventful weekend I experienced these last two days. It was a weekend like many others with the exception of their being no media consumed. I’ll swear to the nearest God that I was brighter, lighter on my feet, more communicative, more wiling to laugh and heard things and people more clearly. Why is this? What are the implications of this?
Now, I don’t recommend to anyone that they ever take a break from all their media consumption. At the very least it’s imperative you check in and read FERMENTATION on a daily, even hourly basis. This recommendation is for your own good. That said, I’m wondering what the result of cutting yourself off from all media for a period of two weeks will be. Will my perception of wine and the world of wine change drastically as a result? Would that be bad? Bad for business? Perhaps some of you have more experience with th effects of media withdrawal. I’d like to know what I’m about to get myself into.