For our 62nd Session, our host, Angelo De Ieso from Portland’s Brewpublic, is shining a light inward to see if we can figure out why each one of us does what he or she does; why we do what we do; do be do be do. Or to be more specific, What Drives Beer Bloggers?
The title question really gets to the heart of the matter: “What Drives Beer Bloggers?” It is apparent that blogging in general serves the authors in a variety of means. First and foremost, it is important to look at what a blog really is. A portmanteau, or a blending of two words, “Web” and “log”, blogging is defined as “a Web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.” Sounds a tad narcissistic to some. In fact, the popular, often humorous collection of modern day colloquialisms and turns-of-phrase that offer a somewhat democratic glance into our culture known as UrbanDictionary.com has an interesting series of takes on the matter. Submitted definitions on the site are rated by readers and ranked according to popularity. Here, the most popular definition of “blog” is: “A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life. Consists of such riveting entries as “homework sucks” and “I slept until noon today.” You can see what we mean.
So is narcissism really at the heart of what it means to be a blogger? Perhaps on some level it is. After all, one of the underlying reasons any of us construct our blogs is to be read. Still, is this to prop our own egos or to contribute to the general betterment and proliferation of that which we seek to project? With Brewpublic, we have always seen our blog as an opportunity to first and foremost serve as a platform to promote the culture of craft beer. You may have noticed the recent rise of craft beer culture in what many dub “the Craft Beer Revolution.” The fact that so many beer blogs have emerged in recent years is a testament to the advancements that quality and innovation have served in our society. Further it is a nod to the ever growing acknowledgement of the prominence of the Internet and social media. Wine bloggers were pioneers in the evangelistic efforts of craft beverage drinker, likely due to the preconceived notion that wine is a drink of social importance, whereas beer has continued to position itself as more than just a lowbrow tipple. As made evident by the staggering growth in craft brewing in our country (more than 1,700 breweries now in the United States), craft beer is beginning to garner the respect is has so long been neglected. In 2012, the third annual Beer Bloggers Conference will be held in Indianapolis (the first two were held in Boulder, CO and Portland, OR) and is another exemplification of this division’s growth. According to the conference’s blog, today there exists close to 900 citizen beer blogs in North America. From “A Beer A Day” to “Zythum-An Ale Analogy“, each blog poses a unique glimpse into craft beer and what it might implicate.
But why do people decide to start a blog (Okay, so not all “blogs” are personal. Many breweries have recognized the value of social media in modern society)? One thing seems true of most blogs: they are easy to start. All you need is a a computer and a rudimentary understanding of the Internet to initiate your meanderings. The difficulty resides in keeping up with content and reaching an audience. What draws folks to your site? And, what makes you think people want to read what you write?
Your mission as a craft beverage blogger reading this post, should you choose to accept it, is to compose a post on the topic of “What Drives Beer Bloggers.” There are no rigid guidelines about how to write about this topic but we’d certainly love to hear about the history behind your blog, your purpose in creating it, its evolution, and/or what your goals in keeping it going.
So start gazing into your crystal ball and see what’s staring back.
Mirror, mirror, behind the bar. Who’s the fairest beer blogger of all? So let’s put on our self-reflecting caps and see if we can figure out our individual motivations without resorting to omphaloskepsis. Now’s your chance to get as personal as you want to this April 6, the first Friday in April.