I am sure there are many out there that will recognise this feeling:
When you start your blog you think you might, just, find the time to keep it going. Then you start to get into your topic, especially after a few encouraging comments and your first few subscribers. The excitement starts to build when you make new contacts, new friends, new connections. All of a sudden the blog has created a new network to interact with. You read your comments and reply, read others’ blogs, comment on them, discuss ways of working together on facebook, join other forums, …
Finally you get to a point where that interaction, that new network based on having started a blog, is taking up the time you have available to write it and in fact you no longer blog at all. I am beginning to wonder whether I should be entitled to comment on wine blogging and the future of wine on the web (as I am doing on facebook and elsewhere) when my own blog has been given so little attention?
So what might this imply for online wine culture?
This is an important lesson for those contemplating the future of wine on the internet. Where will consumers find the time to interact on the web as much as these business models demand? There is only so much time one can spend in front of the computer – checking email, reading, posting and commenting on blogs, facebook, mySpace, twitter, etc.
Somehow, the wine ‘communities’ need to get their members to buy, drink, rate and write about their wines as well as all this. I love wine and I even earn my money from it, but even I cannot be bothered to write tasting notes on these sites and spend too long discussing it in forums. I know these are just my own preferences, but surely this applies to the vast majority of wine drinkers? The Wine Conversation is not just about online forums, it is about making part of everyday life.
I wonder whether the future for wine is not more individualistic. Rather than creating online social interaction around wine, maybe the most important job is to deliver information to buyers at the point of purchase. After all, this is where the money is anyway, and it is also where the average consumer is looking for advice.
The solution is not obvious, but time really is the rare commodity around here, and the job of wine sites should be to give us back time to enjoy better wines, not to use it up in endless data entry.
One to think about in more detail.