Blogging

Back to basics

by Tim Elliott on November 26, 2007

One of my blog subscriptions is to Hugh MacLeod’s personal blog, gapingvoid. If you don’t know Hugh, he’s the guy who is behind Stormhoek’s conversational marketing success. I interviewed him and Stormhoek principal Jason Korman last year.

Yesterday Hugh posted some thoughts on his blogging (or lack, thereof) that rang true with me:

clipped from gapingvoid.com
So this last week I’ve been telling people I work with, I’m changing the game plan. I’m going back to basics. From now on building “the gapingvoid brand” will become my first priority.

  blog it

Like Hugh, I’ve let the various demands of commerce get in the way of my blogging and podcasting here. So it’s back to basics with daily posts and more wine reviews. My bi-weekly podcast regime is also back in action, which will be maintained from here on. It’s easy to let this blog slide as it produces next to no income but it’s what the conversation triggers that produces the reward.

Winecast is back in business full-time… thanks once again, Hugh!

Yes, I’m a Hack and Amateur

by Tim Elliott on October 9, 2007

Every so often, a perfect storm of work, personal commitments and an occasional Ken Burns documentary keep me from posting here. Usually it’s just several days but in this case it’s been over two weeks. So forgive me if I post a bit more frequently over the next few days to catch up…

Besides not writing or podcasting I pretty much stopped my blog reading. As I returned to Google Reader last week, I had the maximum 1,000+ posts on each of my subscription categories. So I simply pressed the “Mark all as read” button on most categories except for wine blogs.

In my perusal of the past several days, a few posts stood out. But none of these got me thinking more about wine blogging than Jeff’s post over at Good Grape on how 98% of Wine Bloggers Are Hacks. When I saw Ryan’s post today asking the difference between amateur and professional wine writers, I started to think about my credentials, or lack thereof, for what I do here.

Jeff’s post highlights veteran wine writer Matt Kramer’s piece about how 10,000 hours of training is the minimum to attain expert status in any field. Said another way, that’s 3 hours a day for 10 years. It’s been 9,458 days since I turned 21 back in the early days of the first Reagan Administration. To be fair, my wine drinking started three years earlier due to the drinking age in New York being 18 at the time but I really didn’t get into wine until I transfered to a university in northern California in 1980. If I assume that I spent an hour each day studying wine since then, I’m nearly at that 10,000 hour mark now. But my daily consumption of wine didn’t really begin until the mid-80’s and tasting wine is not the same as reading about wine.

So I’m still very much a hack by this definition.

Ryan’s post this morning asked when a blogger crosses the threshold from amateur to professional status? Since by definition an amateur does not get paid for doing a particular task this seems like an easy question. But in this age of affiliate marketing and sponsorship most wine bloggers can earn some sort of income from blogging. But this is not yet enough to earn a living for any wine blogger I know so I guess most of us are still amateur wine writers (or critics, if you like).

But I don’t think this matters very much as wine bloggers are starting to be taken seriously by consumers. Expert or professional status might have been the hurdle for wine writers in the print era but in today’s low-cost, online personal publishing era this barrier has evaporated.

I’ll still working on getting my 10,000 hours in, anyway ;-)

Putting ‘frogs in a wheelbarrow’

by Tim Elliott on June 22, 2007

The conversation around my proposal for a unified wine blogger rating system has brought both sides of the numerical issue to the forefront. In the comments here and around the blogosphere we have seen agreement, push-back and, well, poetry.

Now seems like the right time to put on the table how this system might work in practice. After thinking about this some and considering what Ryan wrote the other day, I humbly propose we wine bloggers adopt the following rating scales:

Overall Wine Quality

* Flawed, Not Recommended
** Average
*** Very good, Recommended
**** Delicious; A Wine of Distinction
***** Outstanding; A Classic Wine

Value/QPR

* Bad Value
** Average Value
*** Good Value
**** Great Value
***** Excellent Value

We can discuss the merits of adding half-stars to this mix once I get a read on the community’s reaction to this proposal. In the meantime, vote on what our icons should be below (aggregator/email readers might have to click back to the site to vote):

{democracy:4}

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this modest proposal. I believe we are making some progress here.

I’m The Mr. Spock of Wine Bloggers

by Tim Elliott on June 21, 2007

Mr. Spock, I presume...OK, I admit it; I’m the Mr. Spock of wine bloggers.

El Jefe laid me bare in his post early this morning (insomnia?) with his poetic argument regarding scores. Let me be clear here, the score is the exclamation point on a bit of prose on the wine in question. Sure, I’m a bit clinical and detached in my reviews sometimes but I do have some passion to spare that Spock might not express. I’ll work on expressing this a bit more.

But I stil think the 5-star (or glass/bottle/cork/bung/unicorn) system is the way for us wine bloggers to go…

Discuss ;-)