- The nub:
Social media does a great job of recreating a virtual water cooler; it's crap at recreating a virtual newspaper. [...] Longer pieces, more thoughtful pieces, analytical pieces--these are what people now go to blogs for.
- A bigger cut:
Social media changed the way beer news flows, but not entirely as I expected. It does some things far better than blogs, but--critically--it does some things far, far worse. People no longer go the blogs for discussion. They were never a great medium for that anyway; without a relationship to other commenters, the discussions were often rude or snide, and they often didn't go anywhere.
With Facebook, we select our discussion partners in advance, so the discussions are more cordial and usually lead somewhere.
But social media is a terrible place to post longer pieces, especially ones that you want to have lasting valence in the conversation of beer. Something goes on Twitter or Facebook, and it's gone in hours, lost in the miasma of words. Social media does a great job of recreating a virtual water cooler; it's crap at recreating a virtual newspaper.
So over time blog content has begun to shift. Those who are doing durable, interesting stuff (current faves are folks like Boak and Bailey, Bryan Roth, Kendall Jones, and Good Beer Hunting) are getting eyeballs because we're not finding this on social media.
(We are also enjoying a new golden age in professional media, though this time in the form of magazines like All About Beer, BeerAdvocate, and Draft Magazine.)
Social media, desperate for something to discuss, devours good pieces. Three or four years ago, traffic here was nosediving, and I thought social media would destroy blogging. Now my traffic is far higher than its ever been, and it's clear the symbiosis between blogs and social media feeds each. It has meant that content has had to change, though.
Longer pieces, more thoughtful pieces, analytical pieces--these are what people now go to blogs for.
Not only the creator of Beervana, Mr. Alworth is the author of 2015's The Beer Bible, available at Amazon and, as Mr. Alworth suggests, "Your Local Indie" bookseller.
Happy 10th, Mr. Alworth. And best wishes (for you and for us, your readers) for at least ten more years of Beervana.