The Tired Wine Writer
Wine blogging isn't dying. But it is tired. Enthusiasm for the platform and for the practice is on the wane.
The same can be said for blogging in general. While the wane in blogging in general is an interesting phenomenon, I'm more interest in the state of wine blogging.
Consider this chart created at GoogleTrends that indicates the search interest in the term "Wine Blog". If you run a similar analysis on "Blogs" and "Blogging" you see the identical trend. Searches on the terms "Wine Blog", Blogs" and "Blogging" hit a high toward the end of 2009 and following this we see a wane in search interest in the terms.
It should be no surprise that if you do a GoogleTrends analysis of the term "social media" you begin to see a big upsurge in searchers on this term at the beginning of 2009. There is a correlation.
Clearly, the use of a blog is being replaced by the use of social media to communicate with friends, colleagues and the world at large. It begs the question, what will happen to the Wine Blog as this continued move toward social media for on-line communications continues.
The first thing to note is that social media is gaining interest among potential, current and past wine bloggers due to the relative ease of communicating via social media versus blogging. Pure and simple: the effort it takes to blog is substantially greater than tweeting 140 characters or creating a few sentences for a Facebook update. In addition, the immediate gratification that comes with social media posts is far greater than that coming from posting on a blog. Don't underestimate the role that self gratification played in the upsurge in wine blogging that came between 2006 and 2009. I believe its a huge motivational factor in the creation of a wine blog.
So, as fewer wine blogs are created and more hit the dustbin, what is the future of the wine blog? My thought is that this will be an important topic taken up at panels and sessions at the upcoming Wine Bloggers Conference in August. My view is the future of the wine blog is as follows:
1. A smaller group of wine bloggers will gain a larger number of readers, establishing themselves as bonafied and important and courted members of that general group we call "The Wine Media".
2. Wine Blogs will remain and probably enhance their reputation as one of the most important sources of in-depth analysis of wine industry and wine consumer trends.
3. Established wine bloggers will be the overwelming go-to source for writer/editor appointments at general interest magazines, websites and even daily newspapers.
4. The number of new wine blogs emerging each year will diminish significantly.
5. The one category of wine blogs that will decrease precipitously is the Winery Blog.
6. The quality of the writers of new blogs that emerge will be far higher than the average quality of most bloggers that took up the platform it the past.
What must be clear to many wine bloggers who started out enthusiastically in the past few years is that continuously feeding and updating a blog is very hard work that requires a kind of dedication unconnected to outward reward. My feeling from speaking to a number of wine bloggers of late is that this lack of immediate reward in terms of readership, interest and income is the deciding factor in letting go of blogging and jumping into the the much more satisfying world of social media where one's thoughts are "liked", "favorited", responded to, and retweeted more immediately.
I personally remain devoted to writing via the blogging platform. For me it remains the only viable platform for intellectual engagement in the larger wine world. I'm blessed however in that there is a certain amount of immediate gratification that comes my way through my work on this blog. And while I recognize that a reduction of the number of wine bloggers benefits long-time bloggers like myself, I find it disheartening to see the interest in blogs and the emergence of new blogs diminishing.