Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We're All Winners

George F. Will recently wrote an op-ed article for the Washington Post commenting on Time Magazine’s selection of You as Person of the Year. For those of You who may have missed it, Time decided that bloggers and YouTube artists are the modern-day equivalent of Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin, and are well on the way to making the mainstream media obsolete.

Now, I enjoy YouTube as much as the next person…but that comparison seems weak at best.

Will isn’t impressed with Time’s selection either. He chalks it up to self-absorption and a culture of navel-gazing. A quick look at any random MySpace page or blog confirms that much of user-created online content displays all the depth of an ashtray.

I thought long and hard before I started writing a blog and had several aborted attempts, which I deemed not worthy of anyone’s time. Writing social commentary and opinion is something I enjoy immensely, but there are many others already doing it and most them are much better at it than I.

I created Brim to the Dregs with a very specific purpose: to write my version of a local wine column. There are two already in local papers that fit the traditional model of reviewing individual wines, but I felt like there was a need for a broader, more relaxed style of wine writing.

It’s worth mentioning that I have the credentials to aspire to such a goal. I have been a professional/freelance writer on and off for a decade; I have been an avid wine enthusiast for the same period of time; and I spent several years in wine sales.

While I haven’t developed local readership (hopefully this will come eventually), I have discovered the wine blogging community.

The wine blog world strikes me as the online version of standing around the local wine shop on Saturday afternoon, tasting wine and swapping recommendations with fellow winos. (Incidentally, that type of experience is the only thing I miss about retail wine sales.) The main difference is that we can chat with people from down the block, across the country or around the world.

If I didn’t read wine blogs, I wouldn’t know that there is riesling from Idaho, sparkling wine from Massachusetts and Ohio has six AVAs. Writing and reading about wine has reinvigorated some of the enthusiasm that working with wine every day had drummed out of me.

I read a variety of blogs and other online journals, etc. on a regular basis. Some of it is great. Some of it is mediocre. Some of it is just plain awful. However, the vast majority of the wine blogs I read are very well written and have a purpose. It’s not just a self-love fest.

As for me, I do my best to hold Brim to a high standard. One of my goals for 2007 is to take this blog to the next level—­better writing, more photography and a better layout. I’m challenged and inspired by what I read on other wine blogs, and I want others to feel the same when they visit my little corner of the blogosphere.

I think what the online community has to offer is community itself—a community that has no geographic boundaries­. Blogs, personal Web pages and the like offer everyone a chance to reveal a little (or lot) of what they are all about. For better, or worse.

But does that qualify “Us” as Person of the Year? I think not.

My vote goes to Paris Hilton. I luv her! OMG!!

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