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Things I don’t Understand No. 5150

There are a lot of things I don’t understand: How or why the Kardashian’s made an estimated $65 million dollars last year, for example.  Or, why the NFL and the Players Association can’t figure out how to split $9 billion dollars is another.  While I’m thinking about it, what exactly is a, “High Priest Vatican Assassin Warlock” anyways?

Add an online wine writing item to the above list.

Earlier this month, eCairn, a Silicon Valley-based software company specializing in identifying “tribes” and ranking influencers (tribe leaders) in online communities did a ranked analysis of three online beverage niches – beer, wine and spirits – reviewing 4000 influencer’s who have blogs and/or are engaged in social media.

Without surprise, given that wine is an expansive niche online, members of the online wine community ranked in 10 of the 20 top spots across the three beverage alcohol categories.  More surprising, however, is the fact that this site ranked as the #2 most influential out of 4000 aggregated influencers online, ranking ahead of Eric Asimov and the Wine Spectator (amongst others) and ranking behind a beer blog that occupies the top spot.

#2 behind a beer blog, but #1 in wine?  Really?  No, seriously, Good Grape is the most influential wine blog?  Really?


What does leading a “tribe” and being “influential” mean?  I sure don’t know. And, if anything, it’s accidental.  I live in the middle of the country, outside of any meaningful wine culture for goodness sake. I do know that almost all of the time I spend with my blog is on writing what I think are thoughtful and unique stories (save for these odds and ends posts which serve as a repository for, well, odds and ends in addition to demure self-promotion).  Secondarily, I’ve carved out a niche within a niche because few people are interested in writing column-style about the business of wine in a manner that is intended to appeal to wine enthusiasts.  So, to no small extent, I’m leading by virtue of dearth of competition.

In addition, the reality is, I spend no time cultivating a so-called, “audience.”  I’m bad at responding to all comments on this site, which is sort of a cardinal rule of engagement.  I’m the worst kind of Twitter user.  Not once have I promoted my blog to the 11,000 member Wine Business Network group that I manage on LinkedIN.  And, while I have an open Facebook profile, I don’t use Facebook much at all aside from seeing what my nieces are up to. 

I figured my bad social media usage habits were perceived as aloof.  In fact, maybe they’re a hallmark of “influence.”

Seriously, though, If I were forced to draw a deduction on the hidden meaning of the eCairn study, I would say that influence and leading a so-called “tribe,” at least as measured by a software company, is less about things that writer and reader understand and more about quantitative issues related to duration, consistency, geeky stuff like Google PageRank, and that sort of thing – i.e. it’s about things that can be measured.

Ironically enough, I’ve never been a guy that “measured” well—certainly not academically – something that my school transcripts would reveal, and I consider myself more of the athlete-type that’s two inches too short and a half-step too slow, but a guy that has some heart, a work ethic, and some inherited intangibles.

Regardless, given that I’m NOT motivated by money, having an independent third-party measure something as loosey-goosey as, “Influence” which is close to what I am motived by (respect) – is nice, as far as that goes, so I thought would share. 

As always, thanks go to you for reading Good Grape and I promise not to use this newfound, mercurial, “Influence” for nefarious means, something that the Kardashians, the NFL and Charlie Sheen can’t promise.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (3) |


On 03/14, Jim Kimmel wrote:

There are a lot of things I don’t understand Jeff, but you do make many things more clear for me. Maybe you were recognized for making it fun. And God knows we need more fun.

On 03/24, Kevin Willingham wrote:

People like who you mentioned at the first part oft he blog make money because people really care what they think, and to me that is scary. The NFL, don’t get me started there either. GREED….. I stopped watching mainstream sports long ago, they just do not play like they used to. I hear more about who is dating who rather than what is going on in the game.

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