A strange thing happened yesterday, well actually, it happened just over 6 months ago when we started this blog. As The Wine Wankers become more “known” (that feels a bit weird to write) people often ask how this whole caper came together. If you’ve read my very first blog post (click here) you’d know that we sincerely kicked all this off on a whim with no other intention than to blog about our wine stories. And if you’ve read Neal’s recent post here, you’d know that our namesake is rather ironic.
The only purpose of this blog has been (and still is) to have a laugh and to share our joy of wine with anyone crazy enough to have entered the echo chamber.
A strange thing started to develop right from the outset. We began to gain a following within the blogging community and became part of a great family… the WordPress bloggers. A few serious (and very good) wine bloggers followed us but an equal amount never really seemed all that interested. The real following we received was from other bloggers whose interest was not so much in writing about wine themselves but in actually reading about, and engaging in, our true passion for wine. Most are wine drinkers, of varying levels and taste, but we even have a few followers who read our blog just to join in the fun and they may not even drink that much wine at all.
A little over 3 months ago, and after some encouragement from a fellow blogger, we decided to get onto Twitter because Neal was travelling through South America and we thought it might be a good time to give it a go. To be honest, for the first few weeks we didn’t get it at all, but I was determined. I watched what the more popular Twitter accounts did and noticed that they engaged with people, in a big way. They didn’t use Twitter to just broadcast content, like we were doing to our Facebook page at the time, they were chatting with people, sharing their stuff, and being shared in return. I soon realised that social media was about participation.
So I started to share and engage with people who are interested in wine. I added “Tag us with good
#wine material and we will share!” to our twitter tagline and did exactly that and before long we had thousands of awesomely engaged Twitter followers sharing our tweets, and we sharing theirs, in a very fun game of ping pong. In a similar manner to our blog, some serious wine industry types followed but many still don’t though which is funny, especially Aussie wineries, so we decided to write this bit of important information a couple of weeks ago as a plug for ourselves… we’re ready to kick this caper up a notch! 😉
The real core of our following though has been just good people who love wine and just want to have fun. We are so lucky to have so many truly engaged people that have joined us for this ride. We’ve now got close to 7,500 followers on twitter and about 10,000 across all mediums that get notified about the blog. From what we can tell it seems that this is quite a lot for someone related to wine in Australia.
Recently we’ve actually started to creep out of our virtual world to meet wine industry people, something we’d never planned on. Our activity on Twitter has brought this about. On meeting people in the wine industry they seem genuinely curious about the whole “wine wankers” concept (a name that is hard to forget) and then even more curious to know how a few blokes not really connected with the industry can gain such a following. I suppose it might seem a bit weird to some.
So we’ve had to ask ourselves, how, why, and we think we know part of the answer. We’re extremely passionate wine drinkers, that’s probably self-evident, but that’s not the full answer. It’s probably the fact that we aren’t “industry” that gives us our following. See, because we don’t have any of the constraints or expectations of the wine industry we can be totally free to just express ourselves as the fun-loving wine drinkers we are. Some people in the wine industry seem to find this difficult; wine is to be talked about in a certain way if you are to be accepted.
We don’t have to write about wine in a particular “acceptable” style and we don’t have to prove to anyone else in the wine industry that “we know our stuff” (there’s so much we don’t know that we hope to discover). We have no barriers, none. We’re free to “muck-around” and have a laugh, and those who follow our blog and twitter feed know this… we’re just fun loving passionate wine drinkers sharing the love!
So what strange thing happened yesterday? Alex from Vinus (he has created a great little FREE wine app for the iphone you all should download from here) replied to a tweet we were involved in and mentioned a NZ wine tasting trade-related event. I wasn’t aware of the event (not being in the industry and all, busy with my day job and home life) and I got a reply saying “MAAATE! Missing out”. I did feel a teensy bit embarrassed for not being up on the event and asked if anyone could pull strings to get me in, and of course, Alex did.
See the twitter discussion here – https://twitter.com/WatupButtercup1/status/438251199880364032
I won’t go into the details of the event other than to say I tasted some extremely good wine and this wine makes up the photos I’ve attached to this blog so please check them out – they are ALL very much worth getting hold of. I was especially drawn to the wines of Konrad and found them to be of exceptional finesse, not being biased at all, really! 😉 NZ is known for producing some great Sauvignon Blanc but there’s so much other good wine especially the Chardonnay and Pinot (yum).
The actual bit that weirded me out yesterday was a conversation I was having with Alex where I said that it felt weird being “snuck into” the trade event as “industry” and Alex responded along the lines of “Hell yeah, you guys are industry!” and also mentioned our growing twitter following. Hmmmm, at that point it hit me.. are we now part of the wine industry? Geez!
Just like I said in my very first post, I still don’t know where this is going, but I do know that we’ve hit onto something through chance and passion that seems to work and also seems to be missing out there. We will continue to keep our minds free from having to conform to any industry norms because, as far as we are concerned, we’re still just passionate wine drinkers that happen to tell the world about it.
But hey, if calling ourselves “industry” opens doors and gets us to experience a new level of joy in wine then shit yeah, we’re in the wine industry! 😛