Here are the REVISED Wikio rankings for April.
Tricky situation, because every month they offer a blogger an exclusive, before they go live. There’s a narrow window to get this exclusive up before the rankings go live. So even though it looked dodgy, I had to go with it – but it turns out it was wrong. So here are the right ones:
A couple of thoughts and observations:
The fact that I post these rankings more than anyone else doesn’t mean I attach more importance to them than anyone else. Wikio asked me to co-ordinate this for them and I agreed, not having any reason to refuse. I view it as a bit of harmless fun. You’re entitled to disagree. But every month I ask if anyone else would like to have the exclusive ands trail it on your blog – it’s an extra spike in hits if nothing else. Hardly anyone ever volunteers. It would be great if more people would like to share it around.
Secondly, I still stand by my challenge about making beer blogging more interesting. Some people agree, but it’s upset some other people.
I hate upsetting people. I hate spats and fights. I have enough of them so believe me, I do know how much I hate them. I write something I feel has to be written, and then when it all kicks off my stomach starts churning, I lose my appetite, and it’s hanging like a cloud at the back of my head, infecting everything I do, until it dies down.
My blogging challenge coincided with the decision of Impy Malting to return to the beer blogging world after a long absence (Hurrah! Impy’s blogging again!). Reading her return post (I recommend you do) – which was largely about why we blog – helped me clarify what was behind my ‘blogging’s getting boring post’ better than I expressed it initially, so I want to expand on that here.
It comes down to why we blog. I started blogging for the same reason I do all my writing – to turn on new people to beer and educate casual drinkers on delights they may not be aware of, and to try and help build a career as a full-time writer. Both these reasons require a larger, general readership if I’m going to succeed. I also have to accept that I was established as a beer writer before I started blogging.
But different people start blogging for different reasons. The wonder of blogging is that you can simply write what you like and publish it in seconds. Some people might do it just to see the satisfaction of “I made this”. Other people do it as a form of therapy. Some do it just for themselves, and some do it for a specific group of people – friends or colleagues or family – with absolutely no care at all what anyone else might think.
No one has any right to tell these people what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their blogs.
So then we come on to the beer blogging community. Impy talks about how she decided to blog about beer for her own reasons, and when she started doing it she found this community of beer bloggers (that’s you guys) and was delighted to be welcomed in by them. It opened up a whole new dimension of chat, opinion sharing, ideas and friendship. I’ve found exactly the same – and more. I do the occasional bit of consultancy with brewers, and the first thing I tell them in marketing is that beer brands can now be built on line, that the blogging community represents a new medium, a new audience, through which beers can be made famous. Ask Brew Dog. Ask Crown Brewer Stu.
SO I AM NOT SLAGGING OFF THE BEER BLOGGING COMMUNITY. OK?
The thing about beer blogging is that, even though we may be read by a wider audience, the people who comment on our blogs tend to be other beer bloggers. This tends to dictate the directions of the conversations we have, the subjects we cover. We start to write specifically for other beer bloggers. And ultimately that means the conversation becomes a closed loop, ultimately excluding someone who isn’t a member, or at least offering them no invitation to join in.
I include myself in this, more than anyone – shit, look how often I post the Wikio rankings – as Beer Nut pointed out, on that evidence I’m worse than anyone. But I am my own harshest critic. Well, apart from Roger Protz. And my agent. And the Beer Widow. OK, I’m my fourth harshest critic.
My challenge to beer bloggers is a challenge to myself. When I rewrote Man Walks into a Pub this winter I realised how far I’ve strayed from the original reasons I began writing about beer, and I want to get back to that place.
But it’s also a challenge to anyone who feels like sharing it.
If you blog about beer and you’re perfectly happy having a closed-loop chat with other beer bloggers, sharing in-jokes and comparing your latest discoveries – and I’m not making a value judgement there, it’s your right to do so – I have no right to tell you to do something differently. So I unreservedly apologise if I’ve offended or come across as too bossy.
But if you’re blogging because, like me, you want to (a) continually improve as a writer and/or (b) be read by more people, my challenge still stands.
You never know – other beer bloggers might find it refreshing too.