Well. It's been a while. Nice to see you again, or if it's your first time here, welcome.
Today, I wanted to touch on the beer community as experienced by a a thirty something white male with a couple of years worth of blogging/vlogging under his belt.
People often stop me in the street and say 'Hey Chris, what's it really like out there on the edge of the cool gang in beer world?' (They don't say this, but hey artistic licence).
So, my answer to all of these (admittedly imaginary) people that you meet through social media?
It's just like real life. Except, well, in real life I choose friends differently. I have 'added' people to my facebook who in real life I would never tolerate. Maybe in their mind they are like Gumbo in ID or Begbie in Trainspotting.In reality they are probably just a dick. The worst part is when these people club together. Imagine a self validating Gumbo/Begbie combo. Not nice is it?
The difficulty is that a group of individuals tend to settle around the lowest common denominator and it isn't long before they are threatening to hit people in the face with bricks.
These are people that wouldn't understand hyperbole if it literally jumped out of a pint glass and poked them in the eye.
Blokes in my experience, generally rub along ok together (oo-er). If there are differences between men these should be resolved between the two men. Not through a test of strength, 'flaming' - aka being a dick for imaginary internet points or armwrestling (hard to do virtually), but through an open and honest dialogue unencumbered by drooling halfwits on the sidelines who are effectively shouting 'fight, fight, fight' from their vantage point.
I applaud those bloggers/vloggers who haven't got involved in the latest public spat. The dispute is between two men. Leave them resolve it.
Facebook is a nightmare for this. It seemingly has turned men into caricatures of Dynasty women (sorry girls), with incredibly bitchy behaviour becoming the norm. Don't like what someone did? Ban them from your group and talk about them incessantly (be sure to check for all alter-egos before you do this). Also, pick on their hair, this might help your self esteem.
Anyway, onwards and upwards.
This is the place to be. Compared to the Tesco experience that facebook offers, this is a veritable Waitrose of tidy people. I don't think I've talked or managed to follow anybody who is even a bit rude (even accidentally). If they even were accidentally rude, they were probably mortified before I even noticed. Okay this is slightly idealised but you get the whole juxtaposition thing I'm driving at yeah?
Arguments (as in the intellectual process of argument) are settled with facts and gentle coercion. Differences of opinion are allowed. I've never seen a Twitter campaign that wasn't publically available to the person being assailed (so avoiding the schoolgirl bullying mentioned above).
I was welcomed on Twitter. I've talked to some great people and built up a modest count of followers. My feeling is that people take you seriously if you can communicate.
What's the difference? Does the ability to form a coherent opinion in 140 characters help you find civilised people? Probably. Actually, no, definitely.
Is there more?
This is the new boy on the block for me. I think it sits between the two sites mentioned above. Largely the community is American but there are some interesting sub/reddits that are relevant to beer fans. Still a bit cliquey but early days yet. Check it out, quite interesting.
So. Back to the point. What is the beer community like? I suppose you could liken it to pubs. Facebook is the Dog & Handgun (probably a Wetherspoons) on one of our less salubrious estates. Twitter is a lovely old thatched pub that serves real ale, the pub has a dog. Redditt is a trendy wine bar with some fancy bottled beer.
Thanks for reading and remember there is a real community out there, go buy some beer and enter it.