So in the last month, I’ve had several people mention Twitter to me and suggest opening an account related to my beer writing. As I’ve written before, I don’t really get Twitter and think it’s a pretty self-indulgent, self-absorbed thing. Now I’ve determined what might be at the core of why I dislike Twitter: Enter TwitterTasteLive and here. If the solitary act of beerblogging wasn’t bad enough, you can add the anti-social element of drinking a beer with other people, while not actually with other people. That’s right. You buy the beers, drink them alone in your basement closet, and then post your experiences on Twitter. Mine would look like this: “Closet is cold and dark…Think I’m still drinking beer…I wonder if the pub is still open…Later nerds.” I’m all for people getting together to drink beer and even discuss it (although let’s try and keep the latter to a minimum). All told, for my money, Twittering beer seems a pretty ridiculous endeavor and kind of the polar opposite from what makes beer great, namely the whole conviviality and bringing people together thing. Who knows, maybe Twitter is the future of human communication and soon we will all correspond only with choppy sentences from our handhelds. That will hopefully leave me a little extra room at the bar. So at 8 p.m. on Saturday night I won’t be twittering, unless that’s what you now call drinking pints at McNeill’s with a bevy of new, non-virtual friends.

EDIT: I’ve already been informed by a slightly irate reader that the act of posting on Twitter is not called ‘twittering’ but instead ‘tweeting.’ I may never have been so happy not to know something in my life…I’ve also added the ‘self-absorbed’ line.

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13 Responses to “Twitter And Beer, Two Things That Do Not Go Together…”

  1. seth says:

    Sweet, let’s tweek off some beers!!!

  2. Andy says:

    Don’t let the TweetPolice hear you call it tweeking…That’s reserved for your glue bottle and paper bag.

  3. Al says:

    And here I thought this was going to be about drinking and tweeting.

    I still haven’t made my mind up about it yet. I think it may have some utility. I’m still feeling my way.

    @hoptalk

  4. Bill says:

    Maybe you’ll never like twitter, but I think the Beer Mapping Project’s twitter maps are very cool. Here’s mine.

    The geekish lure of adding points to my map gets me out of my basement and into the pub.

  5. Thomas says:

    For all the reasons I have seen people not liking twitter this seems pretty poor, but I understand your logic. But that said social media sites are based on a conversation, often times ones you can’t have with that friend at the pub because of where you are, for example I moved this year and it allows me to stay in contact with many friends. Until they can cross my path again, I’ll use social media and feel fine with it.

    And I won’t suggest you get an account.

  6. mike says:

    Say what you will, but twitter has played a pretty prominent roll in our increased subscriber numbers over at Hoosier Beer Geek. So if you’re a whore for traffic like I am, it’s a pretty nice tool.

    And it’s no more self indulgent than writing a beer blog, really. I mean why should anyone care what any of us think? What’s the difference if I’m writing paragraphs or two sentences? It’s all just entertainment.

  7. beerinator says:

    I figured once beeradvocate embraced twitter, all you guys would be on board and signing up.

  8. Andy says:

    To Beerinator-

    Not quite sure what you mean but we don’t all speak with one voice.

    To others-

    I can certainly understand the utility of an application like Twitter for a company to get out information or product news to a group of dedicated consumers, so for breweries it makes sense. For beer geeks to further isolate themselves from the real world, I think it’s less valuable. And while I agree that some beerblogging is definitely self-indulgent, I think it may also be the choppy nature of the ‘tweets’ that bothers me. It feels to me like texting your thoughts to a large group of people as opposed to taking a few moments and actually writing something cogent. At least, that has been my relative and admittedly limited experience with the application to date.

    To Bill-

    The Twitter map is perhaps more intriguing and I suppose a decent way to keep track of your pubcrawling adventures.

  9. Jay Brooks says:

    In its original incarnation, where people just texted one another, I also didn’t find it that useful. Although I wouldn’t call it self-indulgent necessarily because the only people you’re communicating with in Twitter are people who’ve signed up to “follow you” so presumably only friends, colleagues or customers who’ve asked to hear your missives. I’ve recently started tweeting when I post and many people have said they like being able to follow my blog using Twitter. I was talking with Stan about this earlier today and he, too, noticed that the uses of Twitter and the ways in which it’s being used are all changing and increasing. Twitter is not the same as when it started.

    The originally wine only website Twitter Taste Live (which is a separate company from Twitter; they just use its technology) wanted to try beer and asked me to participate. I’m keeping an open mind and figured I’d see how it worked. It doesn’t seem that much different to me than the Burgundian Babble Belt tasting in real time online via their forum.

    And as for keeping people apart, it is connecting with people virtually. I know that face to face is preferable — I certainly prefer it — but it isn’t always possible, now is it? So I don’t see the harm in connecting with people online from time to time. It allows people in remote areas to have some connection, perhaps not ideal, but still useful and potentially interesting. I don’t see why there has to be only one acceptable way to share a beer.

    And as for the tasting itself, I won’t be alone, I’ll be tasting with my wife and Sean Paxton and I can assure you won’t be in a basement closet, nor I suspect will anyone. I’ve encouraged others to get together as well because I agree that’s preferable. I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times and people get together for Write-Ins where they write in groups, taking an otherwise very solitary pursuit and doing en masse. I can’t see why this will be that much different. But I also can’t agree that drinking alone has to be inherently anti-social. It can be, sure, but I can think of several hypothetical situations where having a drink alone isn’t a one-way ticket to AA.

    I certainly don’t believe Twitter or any other mode of communication will ever replace human contact, but mail, phones, faxes, e-mail and even Twitter are just tools. They facilitate communication. People made the same arguments against the telegraph, the phone and every advance since Bell called Watson from the other room. And still we talk to one another. Civilization hasn’t ended and Twitter isn’t bringing it down either. I know you didn’t suggest that specifically, but that’s where you seemed to be heading, at least in my addled mind.

    I also don’t understand your problem with the “solitary act of beerblogging [being] bad enough.” Isn’t all writing solitary, whether it’s for a blog or a novel? My NaNoWriMo experiences notwithstanding, how often do people write publicly or in groups. Unless I’m co-writing a musical, I’m by myself. Aren’t you?

    Anyway, I’m willing to give Twitter, or indeed anything new, at least a passing chance. If it allows people to try something new in a new way, I say great. If not, I spent a pleasant afternoon with Chimay, Westmalle, my wife, a friend and the online community. I can think of worse ways to pass a few hours.

  10. chris gillis says:

    Andy, this is Chris from Twitter Taste Live and just wanted to put in my two cents not only as a longtime craft beer drinker, but someone who uses twitter in both my professional life (10 yr web developer) & personal life (beertweeter is my beer/tasting blog).

    I would say give it it a shot before you disregard Twitter, you do have a blog (obviously)? What do you think it was like for the first Bloggers? People complained that their opinions are one sided…”They are just blabbing out their opinions on this digital rag?” “Who would want to read that?” Throw Beer into the mix…and really, “Who would want to read someon’e tasting notes on Rogue Brutal Bitter?” I remember hearing similar comments.

    As for the “drinking the beer in your closet” that doesn’t sound fun at all – the ideal Twitter Taste Live would include 4-6 people, a perfectly matched dinner party with the beers, and then you jump on Twitter and talk about the them:

    Here is a photo from a Hugel Event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniemole/2785838648

    If someone wants to log on and share a beer with some other folks and expand their craft beer network…that’s cool too. Chances are you will meet these people in the flesh at a fest.

    I’m not here to sway your thoughts about tasting through Twitter, but just want to inform you that what describe above is not really what the Online Tastings are about.

    If you change your mind, let me know :)

    Thanks – @beertweeter

  11. One thing that I find twitter very useful for is connecting people with great beer they might not have otherwise heard about. When they mention they’re enjoying a certain beer, and I suggest a beer similar to it by another brewery that they might like, they appreciate it, and I appreciate tips when I receive them too. Its like instant feedback and personalized recommendations, instead of static ratings.

  12. I am not huge into twitter but the idea of being anti social is crazy. I currently live in Bakersfield,CA and there isn’t much of a beer scene here and most of my friends drink the yellow fizzy stuff so I don’t have a chance to have good beer discussions with knowledgeable beer people. So even though I am sitting at home, on my comfy couch not having to worry about how to get home, drinking a good beer with “friends” who can discuss a topic near and dear to me is a great thing. Just my thoughts!!

  13. Andy says:

    After playing around with Twitter a little more and looking at how some other drinks writers (including several in the wine field) use Twitter, I can see Mike’s point about the utility of using the application to promote the content on one’s own website. I’m not sure whether this was the original focus of Twitter or whether it was intended to veer more into the areas I described as ‘self-indulgent’ or perhaps a better description would be ‘self-focused’ (i.e. status reports along the lines of “I’m sitting on my couch drinking a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from 2005. Yum.”) For these writers, and for several who have commented here, including Jay, the use of Twitter appears to be nothing more than a more interactive RSS feeder. Who knows, perhaps Twitter is less self-focused than I first thought or perhaps it will evolve into something more useful than I presently perceive it to be. Or perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with it yet to discern its value. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Best,

    Andy Crouch

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