Pssst! Beer is good…pass it on.

This week has seen the American leg of the Beer Bloggers Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I have kept an eye on proceedings from afar and wouldn’t be commenting on a conference I didn’t attend if it wasn’t for Twitter.  The quote that prompted me to write this post is second hand so may have been paraphrased, but I trust the source as it’s the conference organisers Twitter account @BeerBloggers.  The quote is attributed to Brewing author and key note speaker Randy Mosher:

…there is more to beer writing than just RT’s [retweets]… – Randy Mosher

I imagine this was just a small observation that he shared in relation to a more significant talking point, but this was brought to my attention by a friend in the UK who levelled it at me through Twitter, ironically through a retweet (RT).

Anyway, the reason this friend sent it to me was to poke fun at my penchant for a RT.  I’m on the road to recovery now, but a few months back I hit the RTs hard and lost a few weeks of my life.  During those dark days I was hiding RTs around the house, RT’ing before breakfast and RT’ing alone.  I’m not proud of my actions, but have acknowledged my problem and started the healing process.  I can still send the occasional RT without relapsing, but I don’t enjoy the buzz as much as I used to.

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My blog is not my best friend. It is not my life. I must master my life before I master it. – Me. (an excerpt from my unpublished works: ‘The Blogger’s Creed’)

I agree with what Randy said, but I think it’s worth breaking it down a little further.

A beer writer may be a civilian or an industry blogger or a journalist.

Their readership maybe 1 or 1,000,000.

Their motivations for being a beer writer will vary.

They may write for themselves, or they may write with others in mind.

They may or may not wish or need to promote their writing.

They may run with a pack of like-minded writers, they may be a renegade.

In essence, writing and committing your words to a public domain is self promotion.  A writer may not like this notion and dissociate themselves from it, but it is an inevitable part of writing.

One way of actively promoting your writing is to blog it, to take this a step further a blogger can create accounts with as many social media applications as they like and promote their work through links to their blog site.  Randy singles out Twitter, most likely because it is the weapon of choice for most beer bloggers, and if you aren’t already in the know, retweeting is a way of sharing a tweet with all of the people who follow your Twitter account.

Some bloggers will publish a link to their blog via one tweet and then leave it there.  Some will send a tweet-a-day for a couple of days after publishing a new blog post, and so on.  Everyone is different.  Some Twitter users also use their Twitter account to promote other bloggers writings, sharing thoughts on beer and the industry with as many people as they can reach.  There is a risk that farflung readers may be reading your words out of context, local musings retweeted to a global audience doesn’t always translate.

Getting back to what Randy said as part of his keynote speech: “…there is more to beer writing than just RTs [retweets]…“.   There IS more to beer writing than just RTs, no question, they are separate things.   My interpretation of what he was saying is that, should you write something and it is not retweeted, or that it is retweeted fifty times, then this is not an indicator of quality, currency or relevance of the content.   As a general rule your work (or at least the link to it) will be retweeted if the content is readworthy, amusing, controversial or if the tweeter just can’t help themselves!  If it ticks a few of these boxes and still does not receive a retweet, it is still no indicator of the relevance and or importance of the content.  I think I understand what he was eluding to?

On a separate note, and to defend my actions, being a serial retweeter and a beer writer does not mean that I am missing the point of beer writing, nor does it follow that I only retweet my own work.

Pssst! “Beer is good…pass it on”.  Pls RT.

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6 thoughts on “Pssst! Beer is good…pass it on.

  1. I see it slightly differently. Perhaps he was getting at the bloggers who simply repost stories without adding their own take, in effect relying on others to do the work?

    Good thoughts though.

  2. Steve, yes your’re right, I hadn’t thought of it like that. It was quite difficult to write about this without coming across as a petulant blogger having a pop back. I didn’t see it as a pop at bloggers and happen to think he makes a good point. Maybe most importantly, it’s not about moving away from a reliance on Twitter, but more relying on several sources for your reading material? i.e. to prevent becoming insular as individual writers and as a writing ‘community’.

  3. I like your post. It could be a call to people to do their own work and put their own touch on their writing. RT could be a shorthand way to say don’t just regurgitate what other writers say, but add something new and original to the world of beer writing.

    • Thanks. You could be right. I’ve been a bit naughty and written something based on hearsay, and Randy may well have meant something completely different to my take on it. You’re right though, writers should try and bring something new when they write….I’m sure I’ve been guilty of re-writing other peoples content…but would never set out to do that.

  4. Even if he didn’t intend the meaning you interpreted, you make a worthwhile point. Interestingly, though, by interpreting it the way you did, and writing about it, you demonstrated the importance of the other interpretation (that is, don’t just RT/vomit stuff from others). The circularity of it all makes my head hurt.

  5. I suppose there are a few ways he could’ve meant and perhaps he meant them all. The 2 main ones that spring to mind for me are: don’t just regurgitate what others are doing; just cos 50 of your mates have found the energy to hit RT it doesn’t mean your words mean shit… of course, Mr Mosher possibly didn’t mean either of those.

    It does raise the interesting question of when do you actually become a ‘beer writer’ instead of someone who merely things they are and who actually decides that you are a ‘beer writer’. Me? I don’t consider myself a beer writer, I’m just someone who occasionally waffles pish and shit about beer and getting drunk… and I’d hate to think that anyone was mad enough to think my words mean shit but I enjoy what I do.

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