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WBC 09 Keynote Address by Barry Schuler: “The Future of Blogging and Social Media”

July 25, 2009

 Sonoma County Temp Tattoos: Spicy Zin is me! thnx for photo to John CorcoranIn his keynote address “The Future of Blogging and Social Media,” Barry Schuler says wine offers a moment to celebrate.

Well I’ll certainly drink to that!

Barry Schuler @BSchuler took suggestions for topics to cover during his Keynote Address at the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference related to his topic. ”New Technologies and their Application to The Business of Wine” which he’s now giving this morning from 10:30 to 11:15 at the Napa Valley’s Culinary Institute of America on Saturday, July 25th. And since the wireless here works great, I’ll be posting right along as he’s talking!

Schuler calls himself an authentic internet historian, and he’s got the cred for that claim, for sure. According to the conference website, “Barry’s multimedia firm Medior created interactive technologies for AOL; after Medior was acquired by AOL, Barry worked his way up to be Chairman and CEO of that company. Today, as managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he’s funding next-thing projects in the tech world. Barry also serves on the board of Synthetic Geonomics and is CEO of Raydiance, which is developing laser technology for healthcare use. He and wife Tracy co-own Meteor Vineyard, located in the Coombsville region of the Napa Valley, with winemakers Bill and Darnine Dyer.”

In his talk, Schuler points out:

There is no analog to wine in other businesses.

Every bottle holds a story.

Every tasting is an adventure.

Wine is larger than life.

According to Schuler, there is an insatiable desire for information about wine which hasn’t been met in the past by traditional media, so this is an industry in need of expanded methods of communication. He thinks wine has a hard time marketing itself which seems surprising to me, but what I think he means is, it is hard for the wine industry to get the story across, the story they want to tell, to the public.

Trending topic: Bloggers– Is it a passion or a profession?

What are the disruptions to what’s going on? Media has been democratized, which is great. But how do you make a living at it, when as he says there’s been a socialization of monetization. “Do brands matter?” he asks.

Web version: 2.0 disruption

He points out that the major characteristics of Web 2.0 is when the internet became a budget item AND when people stopped runing outside to pick up the newspaper and instead started going to their computers.

0.0 infrastructure in place
1.0 consumerization of the web via email etc

What’s next? What’s Web 3.0 going to look like?

First, Barry Schuler says, we need to go through Death Valley. One of the biggest problems is we’ve disrupted traditional media faster than we’ve figure out how to make it work, before we invent new models.

We have endless amounts of “shelf space” but how do we connect?

VCs have invested millions in the model: “If they come, we will build it.”

But there’s a drought in creativity to figure out a new business model of ways to make money using the internet.

Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail said there’s unlimited shelf space, so what matters more is to think about what will last. Now he’s saying give away your content and make money different ways.

What’s going to happen with this “relentless audience fractionalizaton”?

1960s broadcasting
1980s narrowcasting
1990s micro-casting
21st century NANOCASTING?

Back to the question of how to make money, to make a living, to pursue this passion and be able to justify the time invested?

Some comments from Barry Schuler on “the wine biz:”

incompatible market segmentation
counter-intuitive marketing methodologies
intimidating product
getting hammered in the economic downturn
hasn’t had its internet moment

Trending topic: is twitter in 2009 like CB radio in 1975? The CB radio analogy is one I use constantly to talk about twitter and blogging with folks who get it and folks they don’t, so I think it’s right on for people of a certain generation, people who remember sitting in the cab of their parents cars trying to think of something to say.

Last but not least, Schuler says:

Every downturn leads to an opportunity
Bloggers are reshaping the media industry
A business model for nano-casting remains to be discovered, invented
Disaggregation is bound to consolidate in a new form
The key is to thrive and survive

In the Q and A, someone asked what he saw was the future of monetization. In the past, what worked was a subscription model. But no longer. Sell a product or a service, he suggests.

As we emerge from “Death Valley,” advertisers will flood the internet because micro-audiences can be monetized. Facebook is already doing it; I’ve noticed how the ads on my facebook page has changed.

If you can deliver value to an audience, then the business model WILL catch up, you will be able to make a living. But how long will it take?


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