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There was a young tweeter from Thailand

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I got those low-down, mean old social media blues. Can’t get ‘em outta my head. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook — what’s it all mean? Everybody’s talkin’ about it but who’s walkin’ the walk? Why am I leaving off my “g’s”? Why did the chicken cross the road? As you can see I’ve taken leave of my senses.

Let’s start with blogs. My Gallo post from yesterday resulted in a wave of responses, mostly along the lines of “What are they waiting for?” It’s true. If you think you want to blog (whether you’re a winery or a weinerschnitzel), you can’t think about  it forever, you can’t have meetings and develop flow charts and strategies, you can’t predict ROI, you just have to sit down and do it! It’s like being in high school and going to a dance in the gym. If you stand around the sidelines instead of asking someone to dance, you’ll just be, well, standing around the sidelines. Not where the action is. Not prudent. On the other hand, if you ask that pretty lad or lassie (? where did the Scottish stuff come from?) to dance, you might get a big, fat Rejection, but you might not, and hey, what’s life without a little rejection once in a while. It happens. Get used to it. So here’s Steve’s one-word piece of advice to wineries: BLOG. Just do it! Build your numbers slowly. It’s like starting out at the gym. You have to work your way up to the heavy numbers.

So at least two people have forwarded me the Wine Business.com story from yesterday on “Do Wine Blogs Impact Your Brand?” One was a winery owner/consulting winemaker and the other was a wine industry P.R. professional. I didn’t think there was anything particularly new in the study, which came out of Sonoma State University. But the fact that winemakers and P.R. people are fascinated by blogs is what’s really interesting.

Okay, then we move up the feeding chain (or is it down?) to Facebook. Facebook, I get. It’s easy, comprehensible and fun, and you don’t have to be a TIJ (Total Internet Junkie) to play in the FB sandbox, which is maybe why an older generation has gravitated there, present company included. There are some pretty heavyweight wine names who’ve moved onto FB lately (find ‘em yourself, I’m not naming names) and you can always tell a newbie, they’re tentative and exploratory in their comments, perhaps a little afraid to let it all hang out. Well, here’s Steve’s five-word piece of advice for FB: let it all hang out. Be yourself. You have a personality, no? You know, that “you” inside yourself that feels like “you” and which you know so well? Let it out. The best FB posts express strong feelings and emotions: humor, wit, eagerness, enthusiasm, a love of liquor and food, family, fun and a celebration of life. Also the occasional rant. Which brings us, alas, to Twitter.

To be truthful, I FB’d yesterday that I don’t get Twitter. I don’t. Lord knows I’ve tried, but it’s just not working out. I mean, I kind of liked Twitter from the minute I laid eyes on it. We did the flirty-flirty thing and began dating for a while. But the more we went out, the more I realized I didn’t really know who Twitter was. Maybe we just aren’t compatible, I don’t know. When I said that on FB I got replies that were largely sympathetic. I can see why a winery professional would be reluctant to jump into the Twitter whirlpool. It’s not that I don’t understand the conceptual basis behind Twitter: let’s all of us be in touch all the time so we can form new friendships and connections. That, I get. What I don’t get is the difficulty involved in mastering Twitter. Google Twitter, and you get 741,000,000 hits. There’s a YouTube you can download that professes to teach you how to Twitter. You don’t have to watch a video to learn how to blog or Facebook. Then there’s this hit, which is the ninth on the Google search: “This module provides API integration with the Twitter microblogging service and API-compatible alternatives like Identi.ca.” WTF? I don’t have the time. Which, I guess, is what makes Twitter so attractive to those who love it. Maybe they figure, if someone’s not smart enough to figure out Twitter, then that dummy shouldn’t be in Twitter anyway. In that respect, Twitter reminds of of those cliques in high school from which I usually felt excluded.

Anyway, blogs – Facebook – Twitter. Got ‘em in my head and they won’t go away.

Oh, the headline about Thailand? More to come.

  1. Steve, have you ever been to a cocktail party? That’s Twitter. Don’t get hung up with all the sideshow techie stuff.

  2. Morton Leslie says:

    I understand how important it is to be in touch with friends, customers, strangers, and distant acquaintances 24/7 and to be electronically updated on everything going on in their lives. And I know how impossible it is today to survive with out texting, or IM-ing, or email. Or “apps”. That’s what makes this so hard to understand, but a month or so ago I went to a place that had no reception of any kind. No cell, no internet, no TV. Nothing but sage brush, cattle, and a few horses. I stayed in this place for a week, slept in a tepee, sat and talked with old friends, smoked, drank, ate, danced and sang lit by only a campfire. Stargazed and slept soundly. Funny I didn’t seem to miss my electronics at all. And I know this is hard to believe, but when I came back and my electronics were back in service, I discovered I hadn’t missed out on anything.

  3. Steven Mirassou says:

    For me, Twitter and Facebook and blogs, etc. are valuable only in the aggregate. Like my label, my tasting room team, my facility, each element plays a part in creating a long-term picture of who Steven Kent Winery is, what we make, and how good it is. I could buy a Super Bowl ad (no, I really couldn’t, but don’t miss the point) and maybe get a temporary bump; but the ad is soon forgotten as is the impact.

    Judicious and INTERESTING social media adds pages to the story of the brand. Twitter is like a sentence…enough good sentences, and you may have a shot at a best-seller.

    Re Morton’s point; the solitude is wonderful…all the pinging, and Facebooking, and Twittering and blogging…the connectedness is what allows you to appreciate it, I think.

    Steven Mirassou

  4. I’ll be trying to teach A Really Goode Class at Sonoma State. Maybe there will be some particularly new stuff to come out of it. I’ll try to share as much as possible via my blog, Ustream.tv, and screencasts:

    Page: http://drhorowitz.biz/index.php/a-really-goode-class/
    Blog: http://drhorowitz.biz/index.php/category/a-really-goode-class/

    I agree that it’s weird how some people are so perplexed and standoffish by it all.

  5. A tweet is a press release to a captive audience

  6. Isn’t it telling how all the comments related to Twitter are under 140 characters? Including this one, of course.

  7. Lisa Mattson says:

    I think the way you are using Twitter to announce your new blog posts is a good strategy. You’re enticing us, your followers, to CONVENIENTLY go read your blog at that moment rather than wait until we have time (or a RSS feed) and say to ourselves, “I wonder if Steve has a new post today I should go read.” If you don’t have time to have a conversation with someone on Twitter, I think that’s okay. I wish I had that much time on my hands too. You could always link your Twitter and Facebook status updates very easily through the Twitter application on Facebook, if you have not. When I post a news announcement on Twitter, it also goes up on my Facebook status update. Another way I’d like to see you use Twitter is announcing specific wines you’ve tasted and rated — perhaps Wine Enthusiast would let you announce via tweet your top five rated wines in the upcoming issue — one wine per day — before the issue arrives (with a flip mino video clip of you talking about the wine, of course). It’s all about the visual element nowadays too.

  8. Lisa, great ideas. Thanks. I’ve heard from some people that they don’t like it when you use Twitter as a PR vehicle to promote yourself, so I have mixed feelings about announcing new blog posts. For your info, I post 5 days a week, obsessively, so you never have to wonder if there’s something new up Monday through Friday!

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