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I’ll Drink to That!

by David on April 22, 2007

What percentage of the blogosphere, do you suppose, is composed of garbage, vanity press and egos run amok? I don’t know either, but it’s got to be a pretty big number. It seems that too many bloggers are more interested in drawing attention to themselves than in providing insights or information that’s actually useful. Take, for instance, this jewel of a restaurant review posted in Yelp: the restaurant concerned is described as being “like a botched face lift covered with layers of poorly applied cheap make-up on a hot humid day in Biloxi, Miss.”

Now, first of all, why anyone wants to read a restaurant review from an anonymous, presumably amateur reviewer is a mystery to me when there are professionals available at no cost. Only they can answer that question. And the writing says more about the writer than the restaurant. It just invites more destructive, mean-spirited participants to jump in and join the fray. If some of these contributors keep going down this bombastic road, they may well attract enough foaming-at-the-mouth readers to start getting advertising revenues out of it. Bad behavior rewarded.

And then there was this whole business with Kathy Sierra, which is very unsettling to female bloggers like me. Rude is one thing. Grotesque threats upon one’s life are quite another. I’m looking forward to the day when they track down where those “comments” originated and prosecute.

Not to worry – I don’t want to talk about that. All of that was a very strange and meandering lead-in to an affectionate “congratulations!” to my wine-blogging brethren. In the context of reading those surly restaurant reviews, a subject dangerously close to wine blogging, I was perhaps unreasonably pleased to read about this discussion on ethics and objectivity between two of my favorite wine bloggers, Tim at Winecast and Alder at Vinography. Not only do they consistently make an effort to educate and entertain us, they do so in a thoughtful way and are genuinely concerned about being straight with their readers. “Full disclosure” is a phrase you hear from them from time to time so you know where they’re coming from.

Right on!

P.S. – In the spirit of full disclosure, Tim Elliott consults for Goosecross, but I was a fan of his blog long before I worked with him.

I don’t mean to imply that they’re unique. Quite the opposite. Do I have blinders on to be so proud of our multitude of wine bloggers for being generally all-around good guys (and I do mean guys, since wine bloggers, as is the case in the rest of the blogosphere, are overwhelmingly male)? I suppose there must be some skanky examples out there but I have, thus far, managed to have missed them. Please – don’t bother to enlighten me. ;-)

The suggestion that bloggers abide by certain guidelines has been met with mixed commentary, some of it not very civil. ;-) The guidelines “called on bloggers to not post material that harasses others, is libelous or is knowingly false.” Not setting the bar terribly high, yet still meeting resistance. Hmmm… You have to wonder about the intentions of folks who resent such minimal standards. I suppose some might interpret any limitation as censorship. So much for living in the age of information… as our CEO, David Topper, states “more likely the age of misinformation and we need to read responsibly”.

Well, blogging is still in its wild-wild-west stage, so maybe we have to go through some growing pains. I can understand that some people think their lives are so enthralling that they must be shared with all of us lucky folks – what I can’t quite get my arms around is the fact that these people have actual readers/viewers!?

But, at least it’s harmless. Hardly an original thought, but it’s the kooks and cranks with their hit-and-run vulgarities that discredit the blogosphere. Where will we be in five years?

Anyway, my real point is to send kudos to my excellent fellow wine bloggers, who are better at keeping me current with what’s going on in the wine world than any other form of media, and for their informed and judicious – but still fun! – approach. I’ve always thought that referring to wine as a civilizing beverage sounds a little snooty, but maybe there’s something to it. I guess I’ll have a glass of wine and think it over. ;-)

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