Jamie Goode is a UK-based wine critic, blogger, author and columnist whose background is in science, a PhD in Plant Biology to be specific.
In the world of wine, Jamie seems to have followed a path in the opposite direction to many acclaimed modern critics. The wine critics and writers that are most famous today generally started publishing on paper (e.g. Jancis Robinson) before establishing an online presence, as the web became stronger and stronger over the 2000s.
Jamie on the other hand, started as a blogger, launching the wineanorak website as early as 2001, probably one of the UK’s first wine blog. Much later only did he branch out into the more mainstream publications like the ones he contibutes to today: The World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International, Drinks International, Wines and Vines, Sommelier Journal or The Drinks Business. His book called Wine science: the application of science in winemaking published in 2005 would have helped him breaking through and onto paper publications as a respected wine author.
But times are changing again, and Jamie Goode seems to have operated a positive transition into the world of social media, making it onto the podium of our February 2015 Top 20 Wine Influencers (#3 with Tim Atkin) thanks to 30K aficionados following him on Twitter.
Allowing us to understand what social media means to him today, Jamie accepted to answer my questions, and to reveal the behind-the-scene of his social online presence:
Q: You are ranked within the Top 10 worldwide wine influencers on Social Media, does this mean anything to you?
A: Yes, it’s a really big deal. Social media is a vital part of what I do and I love the way it fosters conversation and interaction. It’s becoming more important and so it’s something I really focus on. So to be recognized for it is super cool.
Q: How do you generally define what you do and cover as a wine writer today? What is the main message you are trying to carry across to your audience?
A: I want the good guys to win, not just the guys with big marketing budgets. I want to tell stories to get people more interested in wine, and to give them the courage to explore this wonderful world of wine more.
Q: You have grown as an influencer of the wine community using various media over the past 10 years, at the same time as social media was becoming increasingly important in our society. What has been the role of social media for your and your wine writer career?
A: I started off early on blogging, and my website was the spur that led to me shifting from my day job to wine communication as a career. As I’ve grown in this, social media has happened, and it’s worked well to supplement what I’m doing on the web. It’s just a really good fit with the sort of work I like doing.
Much of my writing wouldn’t work in print publications, but with the web I have found a place for it. The great thing is that social media means that all can play. The old barriers and gatekeepers have gone.
It’s also shifted the landscape significantly creating new opportunities for fresh voices, and that will continue to happen. Different form of social media are like different tools. You use the right tool for the job, and some people are better with some tools than others.
Q: Has social media influenced your editorial? Has it encouraged you to cover certain topics because you knew your audience on these specific channels would like it and share it more?
A: Not in that way. I try not to write for these reasons. I could get lost more interaction by deliberately being controversial but this would taint the authenticity of what I write and distort my voice.
Q: Social media is very time-consuming when you have a large audience like you have. How do you deal with it on a daily basis?
A: Yes – you can spend a lot of time on it. It’s quite addictive. But I just pop in and out on a regular basis and try to respond to everyone who’s addressed me directly, and read as many tweets and posts as I can. It just fits into my day.
Q: Do you learn from the feedback given on social media? If yes, what? How is it different from what you would learn meeting people in person?
A: Absolutely. You can learn a lot from others, especially your critics -even when people are mean to you it’s best not to respond defensively, but to stand back and ask whether there’s a serious point there. Even people who are being mean can often teach you something, as long as you filter the meanness out.
Q: And lastly, do you think we will continue seeing you influencing the wine community on social media the way you have so far within the next 10 years?
A: Only if I continue to post relevant content, and only if I don’t become proud and arrogant, and only if I continue to learn and evolve and keep up with the pace of change. I’m just a guy with a website who travels too much, drinks a little too much wine, and spends too long on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Find out more about Jamie’s contribution to the wine community on his site wineanorak.com/wineblog.
As a bonus, get to know better what Jamie shares with us on Youtube with the following video where he tries a unique 1815 Oloroso Sherry called ‘Trafalgar’ straight out of the cask at Gonzalez Biaz: