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Giant strides are very exciting.  In our industry, a slow, seasonally affected, growing, pressing and aging pace sometimes takes over and causes our progress to lag a bit behind faster moving industries (tech, TV, advertising…to name a few).  So when the wine industry makes a leap, it generates a wave impossible to ignore, exciting to watch, and exhilirating to participate in whenever you can.  This summer in particular, Social Media in Wine Marketing has taken that giant stride, nay leap forward opening up imagination, possibility and interactive wine marketing experiences new in the wine world.

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Contributing to the leaps forward upto and including the summer of 2009, credit must go to the Wine Bloggers Conference, Twitter Taste Live, The Open Wine Consortium, the Bloggers Tasting and Planting Forums to name a few; accessible, frequent, groundbreaking online interaction between wine lovers, wine bloggers and the wine industry building a critical mass, connecting technology with everyone and anyone with a passion or passing interest in wine.  Then there is the Murphy-Goode, Really Goode Job campaign.  Regardless of what you think about the job (temporary, contractually a quagmire, and possibly vague in its mission) or the campaign (missing some basic social media fundamentals, mysterious in its process, depersonalized), the gimick of the search has splash landed as one of the top 10 topics we wine bloggers talk about.  Some of my favorite Wine Bloggers were on the MG top 50 list (some are still on the top 10 list).  Add to that the VinTank promise to donate $100K in Social Media strategy consulting if Murphy-Goode selects one of the VinTank 4+ and the buzz has gone viral.

LesOpportunity abounds.  And I gotta say that the coolest crest of this wave in Social Media evolution this summer in our industry, in our little Wine Valley has to be St. Supery (and specifically, Lesley Russell’s work) choosing to search, strategize and carve out a position for a highly experienced full time Social Media director to fortify their marketing team. The shift to new media is now working from within the wineries, connecting with and hiring people from a food, wine and social media background. Smart?  Hell, yeah.  Without the gimmick but with a thorough sifting and months of their own experience, St. Supery jumps in the rest of the way.  Their resume of social media history from 2008-2009 includes Lesley Russell speaking on panels (including the ZAP/ Wine 2.0 Social Media Panel and the DTC Summit Panel, “Relationship, Relevance and Results”), Twitter Taste Live wine tasting, a Bloggers Tasting Forum, multiple-avid participants on twitter, real facebook fan page development, and a series called “The Divine Wine Encounter” for trade wine folks.

So we’re talking about St. Supery’s newest hire, Mr. Rick Bakas.  I can’t wait to see what happens now…And I couldn’t be

RBakasmore delighted for St. Supery, the Bakas family and for Napa Valley and the wine industry.  In their continuing leadership in social media marketing, I’m excited to watch them execute a thoroughly thoughtful strategy with great wine, talented people on their team and a tremendous growing network of real and virtual fans.  It also may mean that social media/wine lovers will have a winery to call home in the Napa Valley, a headquarters to start or finish their wine quests…and a place that gets the brilliance and social value of the technology that connects us.

As if we needed an excuse to raise our glass, these are exciting times.  Cheers!

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Depends on your purpose.  Though I am hooked, what can hyper-connectivity do to add value to my life and, indeed, to the lives of mainstream America (and beyond) without making us a bunch of glow-y faced screen junkies?  There’s no formula…at least I couldn’t work by one, but I find myself missing twitter, the web and my 12Seconds if I’m gone from it for more that 2 days. (ok, 2 hours!)  And one basic rule I try to have is to be with the person in front of me…first.  So I try not to answer my cell phone, tweet relentlessly, and browse online or through my Storm while having lunch with someone.  Am I always successful…no.  I am a notorious time-stacker/multi-tasker.  But being with the person in front of me is important.  In fact, that moment may be WHY social media is so valuable…to create MORE of those moments together, in person!

nyeveThat’s me pictured twittering with my tweeples on New Year’s Eve.  I may have sent a dozen tweets or less focusing on my San Francisco bar & grill crawl, and my amazing, sassy friend Cortney.  But I was also missing sharing the New Year moment with all the tweeters I’ve developed a connection with over the past months.  The people in the twitterverse have become my friends, business associates, information gatherers, readers, and general resource for all things tech, wine, life.

The enthusiasm, freshness and candor with which they communicate is, well, refreshing!  So while we struggle with ROI, metrics, and the new world of online connectivity, what are we trading off?  Are the interpersonal moments sacrificed?  Is our culture heading further into short-attention-span-affliction?  And will all depth in connection be lost?

It is another point to balance as we continue to seek the work-life balance, let’s add to that the online-offline balance.

Do you have rules about your connectivity?  If you live by your phone/PDA as I do, have you noticed a decrease in quality when you hang out with your friends and family as they split their focus between you and their device?  I always think it rude that another restaurant patron will let their cell ring on end in the restaurant…I don’t really want to hear whatever their ringtone of the month happens to be!  I especially don’t want to hear 1/2 (or any) of their conversation.  Does anyone else worry about tech ettiquette?

Photo courtesy of Cortney’s i-phone, Jan 31, 2008.

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A quick review www.hulu.com

A 12Seconds Wine Review Video

And, a question from the Bedroom…

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