So why do we need a conference?

February 8th, 2008 by Robert McIntosh · No Comments

I suppose that as someone who helped to kick off this idea I ought to maybe start with some thoughts on why you should bother attending it.

About 6 months ago facebook was all a-flutter with lots of bloggers [who were not US-based students] “seeing the (facebook) light” and joining up, making new contacts, discovering new blogs, sharing ideas and shaking virtual hands.

That was the easy part. Facebook has many flaws, but one of the major ones is that it is very easy to join new groups and see which ones your friends join, but it is very hard to stay abreast of what is happening within those groups once you have joined. It is all too easy to move on to the next hot topic and thus even groups with hundreds or thousands of members go quiet.

There must be more we can make from having created a network, albeit it flawed, of over 200 wine bloggers, don’t you think? Ryan, Gabriella and I certainly thought so.

There was talk of a dinner or a tasting. Excellent idea and perfect for wine bloggers. Then the reality of our physical separation imposed itself on our cosy new virtual closeness. Where would it be? California? New York? London? Barcelona? Wherever we chose we’d exclude most of the others. It was obvious we’d need to consider our real neighbourhoods if this was to work.

So Joel and others started thinking about a US based event and we started thinking of a European version.

But why go to the effort at all?

Well, here are a few reasons that work for me at least:

  1. Because we will arrange some sort of wine ‘super’ tasting, and any excuse for tasting wine is a good one
  2. Because it is being held in one of the world’s best known, but least visited, wine regions – Rioja. Sometimes you need a special excuse to do something a little out of the ordinary
  3. Because wine blogging is still “out there” for most people, particularly in the European wine trade, and we need to do what we can to nurture this medium (or new media channel)
  4. Because blogging is a pretty lonely affair, and meeting other bloggers with similar interests makes one realise that there is a ‘community’ out there that we are part of
  5. Because none of us is making any money from this, but if we work together we may find ways to offer value to other businesses within, and even outside, the wine trade who might be willing to fund our hobbies
  6. Because as Europeans we have a different ‘voice’ from those in the US who currently dominate this sphere; and we ought to share our experiences, interests and goals to define this voice
  7. Because we all have much to learn; from each other, from successful and experienced US bloggers and even from outside this channel
  8. Because one day we will look back on this conference and wonder why we had not done it before, and why the idea of getting together at all sounded quite so daunting.

Now, while the reasons for getting together, to drink, eat and talk seem like good ones, making the most of this opportunity requires some planning. In truth the word “conference” is probably too grand for this first event, maybe we should have said “Wine Bloggers’ Soiree”, or “Jamboree

In any case, I believe that we should kick off a discussion with a couple of key speakers to lead a discussion or two, fueled by a glass or three of good wine.

Next, what should we talk about? Any thoughts? Check out the planning forum and this blog for some ideas, but do feel free to join in the conversation. There is no commitment required at this stage and all input is welcome.

Tags: planning

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