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Everybody’s looking for a social media director

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Yet another winery has hired a social media marketing manager. This time, it’s V. Sattui, known to generations of Napa Valley visitors for its picnic facilities right on Highway 29.

I don’t know how many wineries have created social media manager jobs. It all started with Murphy-Goode, of course. St. Supery jumped on the bandwagon soon after. Gallo recently posted a job offer for someone to “Utilize social media technologies/networks to listen, engage with, and converse with brand consumers in the digital space.”

But even if a winery doesn’t have a full-time social media director job opening, chances are that proficiency in social media is part of the job description for an administrative assistant or marketing manager or some similar title. For example, at winejob.com, Saddleback is looking for a sales associate who is “Proficient with social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In) and the Internet.” Another winery, which wouldn’t name itself, is hiring a P.R. person who “Must be extremely proficient with social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In) and the Internet.” Boisset Family Estates is looking for a wine club manager with a social media background, Opus One wants a marketing manager with “a strong understanding of…web conversation monitoring tools (social media etc.),” and an unnamed winery in Santa Rosa is seeking a winery operations person to manage “social media development.”

Surely the words “social media” would not have existed in a winery job description one year ago. You’ll forgive me for noting that there’s a sense of frantic catching up here, as though the managers responsible for pushing these job openings through are thinking, “OMG, I don’t know what to do, but I have to do something or else I’ll get fired, so let me hire someone who…” etc. etc. Of course, wineries aren’t the only companies looking for social media directors. Wrigley, the chewing gum and candy company, is seeking a social media manager, a “Self starter with an entrepreneurial spirit,” which most social media hounds I know seem to be. Right here in my home town of Oakland, Clorox is hiring a “Corporate Counsel- Social Media/Talent Rights” to protect the company’s advertising. Sutter Health, the giant health insurer, is looking for a communications coordinator for news and social media, someone who can raise “awareness, understanding, acceptance and/or preference of the Sutter Health network through high-quality strategic communications plans and activities.” (That person will have his or her work cut out for him; Sutter is frequently under attack by consumer groups.)

Most of these jobs envision social media as part of the company’s P.R., media relations and external communications divisions, and that’s exactly what makes me wonder if the successful applicants may not be setting themselves up for failure. After all, the essence of social media is transparent authenticity, right? People read my blog and Facebook postings because they know Steve has no reason to post things except for a desire to express himself, with no hope of gain. But if you’re blogging, Facebooking and tweeting about a company that employs you, the inference can surely be made that you’re not being particularly authentic, but are saying what the company, through your direct supervisor, wants you to say, or not saying what they don’t want you to say. I don’t see how a company can get around that inescapable conclusion.

Now, I hope people won’t interpret my remarks as social media bashing, although I expect some will. I am just making a very common sense point. Everybody knows that P.R. is never neutral. A paid spokesperson, whether it be the President’s press secretary, a celebrity endorser in an advertisement, or a blogger who gets a cut of the profits off products she plugs, never can have total credibility. If I owned a winery, I’m sure I would also hire a social media manager. I’m not blaming anyone who does; it’s the right thing to do, now; they’re all making a necessary move. But I’d like to know if, in 2, 3 or 5 years, these dedicated positions are going to exist. I have a hunch that social media managers are going to see their jobs morph into more conventional areas, and that tweeting, blogging and Facebooking will be incidental, not central, to their everyday work. And some of them will be laid off.

  1. “I have a hunch that social media managers are going to see their jobs morph into more conventional areas, and that tweeting, blogging and Facebooking will be incidental, not central, to their everyday work.”

    I think you may be right that those jobs won’t be tied to tools – they’ll instead be tied to a finished product the same way that journalists are seeing their jobs disappear in the newspaper industry but gather opportunity & momentum in other publishing mediums.

  2. Excellent points, Steve. Further to your piece is the confusion between ‘social media’ and ‘publicity.’ Is someone directing a conversation or dialogue from a winery, who speaks for the winery, does a social media manager amplify existing voices or become a ‘personality’ him/herself… lots of intricate nuances here! Thanks for doing some important ruminating.

  3. I too, think “Social Media” (didn’t it used to be Social Network?) will morph, but into what is the million dollar question.

    Regardless, we are taking advantage. Facebook amazes me in that, folks really spend time there. We have over 22,000 “fans” and Facebook is our third highest source of traffic. When folks signing up for The Juice answer the question of “where did you hear of us”, Facebook rules.

    I honestly don’t know how Twitter factors. We post items and our Facebook postings get put into Tweets, but it’s hard to gauge how/what we get on that score.

    I also find myself using Linked In more than I used to. Some of the discussions there are worth engaging.

    Having been actively and heavily involved in the internet for over ten years now, it’s still feels like infancy and it is difficult to make any guesses on how things will evolve, at least for me.

    EVO

  4. Wow. People getting paid to be on Facebook. Well, as they say, it’s good work if you can get it…

    Many companies have no idea why they need to be involved in Social Media outlets, just that everyone else is, and they’re getting “left behind.” The conundrum is “It’s here, but what do we do with it?”

    The duality involved with having a Fan Page, or a business page on Facebook is that you need to stay away from blatant advertising and soliciting to show sincerity and gain the readership; but isn’t that the real reason for being there in the first place? Many businesses start out with the cool, interesting, non-threatening types of posts that are not primarily self-promoting. Then, like the friend you haven’t seen or heard from in years that suddenly shows up and wants to sell you Amway, they put the hammer down, and that “friendship” is lost.

  5. Nativenapkin, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head! There’s an inherent contradiction in the business-on-social-media model. Some companies may make it work, but I think lots of others won’t.

  6. Thought provoking post as usual! It seams that many wineries and other businesses are being reactive with Social Media, hurrying to jump on the bandwagon because they think they have to. Let’s call these companies’ “digital immigrants”. They are being very kneejerk and tactical, throwing resources at a thing that many do not understand or know how to measure. You are right that for those companies the position of Social Media manager/director will morph into something else or worse be eliminated because their efforts are not measured and they did not have a concrete plan as to what they wanted to accomplish.

    For the winery that understands the new landscape, let cal them” digital natives”, and have taken the time to create a clear strategy, independent of the tools, after all social media is platform agnostic, success is assured. This strategy should encompass all areas of the company because social media is more than a broadcasting tool it is a listening tool, a customer service tool, a lead generation tool, an engagement tool! Just like a conversation between two friends requires equal parts listening and talking to be rewarding so it is in Social Media. These companies will succeed and be nimble because they have goals to measure their efforts by; be it revenue, customer retention, trouble tickets, etc.

    Social Media is not new concept! When you break it down it is just a new way to do something that we as humans have done for ages, COMMUNICATE. Think of Facebook Wall as the digital cave wall with prehistoric drawings on it, anyone is free to come by later and interpret what was drawn and append to it. If you replace Social Media in any sentence with communications you will see what I mean.

    So Social Media is just the practice of using the latest digital tools to communicate with your friends, customers, companies, government agencies, actors, etc, in fact it has given us the ability to be far more social then we ever imagined. It will constantly evolve and morph and will need people with the right skill set manage the strategy and the tools.

    As the reality of Social Media progresses I predict what we will see a shift from wineries seeking tactical help and PR/marketing exposure, a la Murphy Goode et al, to one where wineries employ “real” talented strategic social media thinkers to integrate the efforts company wide. Think Zappo’s, Dell, St. Supery…

  7. The Internet isn’t going away…

    It will be interesting to see which companies are actually innovative with their social media and Internet marketing. Are we going to see new webisodes, contests, applications, websites? Just using twitter, facebook, and a blog isn’t going to get a company very far.

  8. Dr. H: Totally agree. Great suggestions.

  9. Agree with Dr. H as well. As someone who has worked in more “early adopter” industries that went through this pattern a year or so ago, what often happens is that the first mad dash leads to a major, disappointing crash. That 21-year-old you hired who seemed so hip and Twitter-savvy turns out to know very little about business in general, much less your business. Yet the existing marketing/PR folks might be behind the curve. Finding a way to best use the existing tools–not to mention creatively redeploying them–while keeping an eye on the larger picture is the happy medium we all seek. As you said, Steve, this isn’t going away. It’s morphing, and we don’t know exactly how or where it will all lead.

  10. Steve, great post. I recall hearing what is now called social media first referred to as CGM – consumer generated media. At the time these seemed merely fancy words for opinions expressed by end users. And this of course implied a one-way direction. When media actually became socialized, so to speak, was when producers entered. I tend to agree that in a few years these specialized positions will become absorbed into the company as part of the marketing function, an albeit important one.

  11. You raise excellent points, Steve. I’ve long been skeptical of the long-run prospects of designated star social-media mavens strengthening consumer commitment to brands. In my work with wineries, I’ve encouraged real wine people — winemakers, winery owners, vineyard managers, etc. — to engage social media. What’s cool about social media is that it can be informal and immediate. There’s no reason smart wine people — with assistance from “experts,” because there are certainly things to learn— can’t integrate social media into their jobs. Heck, all these people already engage the public frequently, at tastings, winemaker dinners, etc.

  12. Morton Leslie says:

    If I were hiring in Media Relations or P.R. today I would want pretty much the same person I hired prior to the internet. Someone who could write, had good wine knowledge, knew the players, was creative, thought strategically, could present the winery in a positive light with some subtlety, followed through on things, and was outgoing and personable. In order of importance….someone who could write. Heck, I might look at an applicant that told me they were constantly on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter with some skepticism.

    Maybe to some wine execs social media is a great mystery, but to me it is something a person with curiosity can pick up in a week. The truly important skills that are needed to be effective with changing means of communication are not new and not so easy to come by.

  13. Bob Avo says:

    I think the term “social media” should be abandoned when used in job positions. A more appropriate term is “engagement”. FB, Twitter, et al, are really about engaging with followers and customers than anything “media” related. (Engagement Manager, Director of Engagement, etc.)

    Further, engagement can bridge to include website, email, video, blog, tasting room, and more. As others have indicated, a purely “social media” position will (or should) morph into other proficiencies.

    Down the line, moving to “conversion” should be the goal. (Conversion Manager, Director of Conversion, or my personal favorite; Director of Engagement and Conversion)

  14. Jim Caudill says:

    God Bless You Morton Leslie….

  15. So let me see, if every winery in California hires a wine blogger as a Social Media Director, there wouldn’t be any wine bloggers left! Perfect!

    I think every winery needs a Social Media director, and soon. But then who would they send the samples to? Oh, this is tricky.

  16. Steve – I couldn’t agree more with you. As a strategic communications manager in my day job (moonlighting as a strategic winegrape sales force of one in the evenings) I would like to add that in this economy if you are a PR&Marketing&Communications practitioner who can’t engage in the social media space (Read: doesn’t have the knowledge to use the tools) then the company hired the wrong person for the job, you’ve been in the job too long, or are just simply complacent. Furthermore, if you can’t engage authentically in the social media space then YOU picked the wrong company. Finally – can we please agree that social media goes beyond the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? For more of my thoughts on social media and the wine industry visit my blog post Millennial Winos & Baby Boomer Farmers at http://www.thomsonvineyards.wordpress.com/blog Until I make it big in social media I’m going to keep my day job and sell as much Napa Carneros Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot as I can on Twitter!

  17. Hosemaster, tricky indeed. Gonna be terrific to watch. Better than the Olympics. Well, almost.

  18. Richard says:

    Thanks again for another perspicacious write up Steve. I think it should be called “anti-social media.” After all, there is nothing “social” about it – it’s all nameless, faceless, hidden, and anonymous (primarily) and people say things on social media that they would never say in person; they put things on Facebook that they would never tell you at a wine tasting.

    But your points are very valid – as a very small producer at a custom crush, I’ve found more people, especially on Twitter, are more obsessed with what I did prior to making wine (it was something perceived as “cool” among the social media cognoscenti)… But, then again, I don’t hawk my product, myself, or anything else for that matter – just try to answer questions that people may have. And it has not been a success for me – perhaps because I’m not using it (taking advantage of it?) to sell my product.

    But your question/point about the future of social media and it morphing into a more generalized career choice are very valid ones – which I’m sure the social media crew won’t explore until it collapses around their ears and then we’ll all hear about it on “social media.”

  19. Hosemaster – simple solution: bloggers create pseudonyms, and publish blogs anonymously reviewing each other’s company’s products.

    It would require that as wine writers we are comfortable being two-faced. In other words, we are already qualified! :-)

  20. Hey Dude, speak for yourself.

  21. Richard, what I’ve been saying about the future of “social media” has been painful to their ears. I’ve come under considerable attack, some of it personal. But I say: Don’t blame the messenger, blame the message.

  22. I read all this and I wonder why winemakers, winery owners and vineyard managers — like Pete mentions above — don’t just learn to use social media themselves. Why hire an outside person who doesn’t know the brand, doesn’t know the company culture, and in many cases, doesn’t know much about the wine business itself? Like Pete says, social media is immediate, and there’s a two-way conversation — it’s authentic. At least, it would be authentic if real winery principals, and not hired social media guns, were making use of it.
    Sure, there are things to learn, but geez, it’s so, so easy, and so many great online resources to help too. Or spend a couple hundred dollars and a couple hours and take a course; the opportunities for learning social media, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to teach yourself, are practically endless.

  23. Kimberly, you ask such an innocent, wise question. It makes me wonder why the owners don’t. I guess it’s a psychological thing. They don’t get it, they don’t feel comfortable doing it. Like you say, it’s really easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. What it does require is opening your soul, which seems to be hard for lots of people.

  24. Interesting comments. I like to think of social media as hospitality on the internet. It is a form of marketing and knowing how to make people feel at home and engaged is a big part of it. Leslie Morton makes some good points. By the way- I’m available.

  25. Steve – I’m sorry to hear you’ve come under considerable attack. As a 4th generation Napan who grew up on the ranch, once pears, apples, prunes and cattle right on Carneros Avenue it’s hard to see corporate giants, wineries, etc. importing social media gurus from outside of the area for social media centric jobs in the industry.

    In response to Kimberly’s comments, what I can say is that on behalf of a 61 year old Farmer who until February had never flown international until I drug him on a plane to check out the innovative spirit of the Kiwi wine industry – he pruned all day in the rain today. Taking care of a crop that hopefully will make it through frost and wind and various other pests on the USDA radar in Carneros and eventually, maybe make it to market, where hopefully some winemaker will use their artisan skills to turn great fruit into great wine. At the end of the day, he relies on me to use social media on his behalf. To teach him how to Twitter is like teaching the intricate details of soil science to a winemaker. They can have general knowledge, but it’s not truly their craft.

    An aside to my last note – I use Twitter to talk about The Farmer. What he’s doing in the vineyard, how he got pummeled with rain today to just maybe get that crop to market in October. If it makes a sale because someone’s heard about Thomson Vineyards, great. If not, it tells a story of a family legacy much like photo albums of our grandparents tell a story of generations before us. Secondarily, the wine industry is glamorous to many (heck, with Dirty South Wine and all the other bloggers chatting about eating oysters and living it up in the Napa Valley, who would think it was hard work?!). In the field it’s hard labor intensive work. That goes for the winemakers and the cellars crew and everyone else outside of the office jobs in the industry. i.e. once you’ve crawled in a tank or sludged through the mud the last thing on your mind is to tell your friends about it on Facebook.

    Keep preaching the truth Steve.

  26. Steve,

    These people that work for a company doing social media may have an agenda and business objectives? These people may be doing this to build their awareness, market, improve PR, and help grow their brand?

    Thought provoking…

  27. Great post, Steve. Indeed, PR may not be neutral, but the time has come for wineries to have a PR person whose job entails sharing behind-the-scenes winery life with the authenticity and transparency that online conversation has created. Sure, that person won’t blog about a dog pooping on the lawn, a consumer who arrived tipsy and yelled at the receptionist or the cleaning of a tank of freshly racked cabernet–but does that make us not neutral? The content may be sensored slightly not to cover topics the audience wouldn’t care about. Content must always be honest and relatable for the audience to care.
    I do agree with Kimberly. As a winery, you cannot farm out your voice. People are nervous and trying to figure out what to do in this rapidly moving media landscape. Luckily for me, I found a winery who realized it wanted the people who work at the winery to have their own voice and engage consumers more online–but they wanted someone to work alongside them everyday to help capture that content. This isn’t about “brand me.” I’m simply the person behind the camera, giving the winemaker, the winery owner, the vineyard manager, the chef a convenient way to tell their stories. The “brand me” approach works for some wineries; definitely shouldn’t be practiced by all, IMO.

  28. Well, Hardy, you would know! “Just sayin” as they say…

  29. Steve,

    I think your hunch is on the money – both literally & figuratively.

    Wineries that view social media as a sales channel are mistaken. And those that hire Director-level talent to manage it will need to repurpose them.

    However, I wouldn’t characterize this hiring phenomenon as “frantic catching up” but rather as wineries seeing SM as a means to shorten the distance between themselves and consumers.

    Having lots of “friends” and “followers” is not a measure of success any more than an advertising vehicle having a readership of X-thousand is. The advertiser still needs a message that engages. Truth is, the vast majority of winery posts & tweets fail on this count. They’re boring. They fail to differentiate. They don’t add up to anything.

    The sum of all the parts (of which SM is but one) is a thing called a Brand. A brand is the invisible layer of meaning that surrounds your wine. It’s not what’s in the bottle. Or what happens in the vineyard. Or what RP or JL thinks. It’s what makes you different, interesting, special. Its what you talk about. It’s what people remember you for.

    When a winery has its Positioning in hand, anyone who works there should be able to communicate it to anyone in any medium.

  30. Fred, I’m fascinated with the concept of branding. I just had a long talk with my friend Philip Pepperdine, who’s St.-Germain’s Corporate & Trade Education Manager, i.e. their head mixologist. He explained to me how St.-G became “branded.” It was the product of many things, some intentional, some pure luck. A great NY Times review certainly helped, as did a sound business plan, brilliant management and good hiring practices, not to mention a new, unique product completely different from anything else out there. I don’t see social media helping to “brand” a winery that is not performing excellently on every level.

  31. Social media is no longer “social media”. It is media. The Internet will soon be the only form of advertising and getting eyes to see your product and/or service. You already know this though… Bye bye TV

  32. Thomas, that’s a big prediction, with little evidence to back it up. It may be true that what we call “television” will be viewed on the same devices as what we now call the “internet.” But a bunch of little blogs is not going to put News Corp., NBC or Viacom etc. out of business. And advertising will continue to flow to the media with the biggest viewership.

  33. “Yet another winery has hired a social media marketing manager. This time, it’s V. Sattui, known to generations of Napa Valley visitors for its picnic facilities right on Highway 29.”

    Well I thought since you referenced me I’d chime in.

    “Yet another winery has hired a social media marketing manager. This time, it’s V. Sattui, known to generations of Napa Valley visitors for its picnic facilities right on Highway 29.”

    Well I thought since you referenced me I’d chime in.

    A thought provoking blog Steve! I can appreciate so much of what you say and with these changing times I really do think much of what we are doing today in RT (real time) is ever changing and will blossom into set functions, tasks and expectations that will soon will be more clearly defined as we go through this phase together as a “team” of Social Media Tweeters, Bloggers and Facebookers. How do I intend on approaching our amazing world of consumers and fans? As I’ve always done whether that be through my marketing and business skills, or my photography or just interacting in person at a great event – and that’s through authenticity and being genuine.

    I have always enjoyed connecting with another person. I love putting a smile on another person’s face. I love seeing an exchange of services whether that is through a photography session or through a wine sale to produce which in turn leads to great outcome. If I can do that like wildfire through means of communication through the internet what better role would I be playing. It’s great positive karma. I want to evoke peoples’ senses through the taste, sights and sounds at the winery of V. Sattui. It’s great and I look forward to seeing how this whole Social Media world unfolds and blossoms. We have gone visual and we like to be engaged. That’s where we are in this Social Media world and that I will provide that. I will be looking forward to continuing to connect with others to post videos and photos and to view others ultimately hoping to make a difference in a positive way in peoples lives. – Nicole Marino (Social Media Marketing Manager of V. Sattui Winery)

  34. Dear Nicole, best of luck in your new job! Congratulations.

  35. Reinforcing my previous comment about covering multiple disciplines… take a look at: http://altitudebranding.com/2010/03/avoiding-the-social-media-pigeonhole/

    I see so many “social media experts” today, but the “advice” they provide is really bush league and shows they have no broad marketing/real world experience.

    Teaching wineries “how to tweet” is a short-lived industry.

  36. One issue is how any company controls a brand message. Take a look at the response in comments from the GM of Chateau Lagrézette in Cahors to Remy Charest.
    What should have transpired? By whom?
    http://palatepress.com/2010/02/cranking-cahors-to-11/

  37. …and then there is the FTC.

    It is a company’s responsibility to ensure proper disclosure by the blogger etc. or risk FTC wrath when using social media. It remains unlikely the FTC will go after individual bloggers but it may well pay attention to Kellogg, Ann Taylor, and Clorox or Gallo, KJ, and Constellation. Alcohol advertising and social media are two of FTC’s six enforcement priorities.

    So this social media hiring frenzy comes back to basic American precepts: liability and consumer protection.

    Here’s an example (bear with me…). When the DOJ and SEC investigate companies for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act etc., a tempering factor in a settlement is if the company had an anti-fraud/bribery policy and training in place. Not if it worked; if it existed. (Remember Oil for Food: Iraq? Look at the settlements from a year or so ago).

    A wine company the FTC goes after is likely (still to be determined) to be better off if it has a SMM, policies, and training in place (though a winery could still be subject to penalties, disgorgement, and negative publicity if charged with civil violations). The international OECD is in the process of proposing country guidelines similar to FTC; that covers most of the wine in the world. So, a SMM is as much linked to the legal side as the push-my-brand side.

    Some people do the right thing, some don’t. If there is a moral imperative (to me the equivalent of absolute transparency), it applies to us, as journalists and bloggers, to do our jobs and to figure out if the wine industry does follow the laws that protect the people who buy and drink the wine. You won’t get a winery’s Tweet about that. Nor do I see a lot of reporting happening, in any media, to make transparency the way things work in the wine world.

  38. Social media is not a means to an end. It is a means to a beginning. People are just starting to figure that out. It is a way to initiate a conversation, but if that conversation gets stuck in the small circle of social media, it just echoes and fades. But when done well, it works.

    We learned a few lessons about social media with the recent (and on-going) Wine for Haiti project. The lessons are particularly interested because we can compare the success of a site that mixed social media with traditional media, Palate Press, against a site that was forced to rely entirely on social media, Boozemonkey. Palate Press ran the American Wine for Haiti auction site while Boozemonkey ran the Australian site.

    What did we learn?

    First, social media, mainly Twitter but a little Facebook and OWC, too, is a great way to launch a project. But that is just step one, and it it a tiny step. We announced Wine for Haiti on Palate Press, but followed it up with a boatload of tweeting. People retweeted very generously. They also cross-posted on their blogs, another version of social media that approaches more traditional media. Boozemonkey did the same thing. Both sides enjoyed the same success in getting pledges of wine from incredibly generous donors. That level of social media did exactly what it does well, reached the relatively small circle of deeply-involved participants, rather than less-involved consumers.

    1 points fo social media.

    Then it got more interesting, and this is where we see that social media was only a means to a beginning. But first, an interesting side note.

    I think everybody would agree that one of the most social-media savvy wine people anywhere is Jeff Stai, of Twisted Oak. Jeff was a generous contributor to Wine for Haiti. His lot was also the first big lot to get sold. That showed that being deeply involved in social media can get you a loyal following within the small circle of active social-media players, the wine tweeters and bloggers. That is one definition of success with social media, and for a small winery without limited output, it is probably a good on.

    Okay, back to the major thesis.

    Once we exhausted the small circle of tweeters/bloggers/winemakers, we had to get outside that circle to reach the bidders. Haiti was a bigger story in the US than in Australia. Marc Jardine, of Boozemonkey, worked his Aussie ass off trying to get some media attention, with no luck. Palate Press, on the other hand, got mention in The New York Times, the Indianapolis Star, Napa Valley Register, Rochester Democrat, Voice of America, and more. Additionally, we had an anchor, Palate Press: The online wine magazine, that was more than a social media site, it also presented non-social media content. Boozemonkey, on the other hand, is purely a social site, an Aussie social network for wine lovers. The combination of other media, and a site that brings in wine lovers from outside the circle, meant more interest and more bidders. As a result, Marc has $60,000 worth of GREAT wine in a warehouse, and can’t get bidders, and we are almost completely sold out.

    The lesson here, from this unintentional, but I would argue valid, experiment? Social media has value to small ventures in its own right, if the small circle can provide all the customers it needs. Social media has value to large ventures as a project launcher, but requires an independent anchor and/or traditional media to sustain and grow beyond the circle.

  39. I have only just discovered this post and David Honig’s reply regarding Wine For Haiti.

    We struggled massively to get ANY coverage in the mainstream Australian media, despite having contacts in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV: to all intents and purposes there was a media blackout on Haiti after the first fortnight.

    We weren’t the only ones who struggled: we had FOUR specialist PR companies working for us and each one of them drew a blank too. Amazing!

    And we went to The Red Cross and Oxfam for help, hoping that their clout and media machine would be able to help us. But they couldn’t help either. In fact Oxfam told us they had given up trying to promote the Haiti disaster in Australia because they had been stone-walled at every turn.

    In the end we had to rely on Grays, a wine auction company, who auctioned off the first half of the wine a couple of months ago and who are due to auction the rest later this month.

    The reaction from the members on our social network was HUGE and the winemakers came out in force. But we were let down by the lack of mainstream media support, so I agree with David that we’re not yet at the stage where we can rely on social media alone.

    Everything’s changing so quick these days though, so it won’t be long…

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