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Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Hard Out There For a Publisher

This is a slightly random aside, but I wanted to draw your attention to a great post about the state of the internet over at Talking Points Memo. For those of you who don't read political blogs for fun, TPM may have escaped your notice. It's a left-of-center site that grew out of a personal blog by Josh Marshall. (As an aside to the aside, the site was my introduction to blogging. I'd never heard the word "blog" until Paul Krugman called attention to some of the work Marshall had been doing on the coded racist words of then Majority Leader Trent Lott. Within a month, I had started my first blog.) Like all news/opinion sites, it has struggled in the age of social media.
What's changed in the last 4 to 5 years is the inroads social media sites have made into the paid advertising space. Much as Craigslist virtually destroyed the classified ads business that local newspapers owned, a site like Facebook can deliver ads more efficiently and cheaply than most traditional advertisers. 
The great liberation brought about by the internet made it possible for someone like me to put my voice in front of (potentially) the whole world--a phenomenon new in the world. But if you envision the structure of media as a funnel, where the voices of the public are the wide end, and the media gatekeepers act as the narrow end, what happened with the internet--and especially, with social media--was the elimination of that narrowing. Now all people can connect with all people, which means the writer in this equation isn't very important anymore. Josh' perspective is that of he publisher, but since we can all now be publishers as well as writers, it may be a distinction without a difference. Writers and publishers are still casting around now to figure out how to make a living. Many of us develop nervous tics because it seems like our societal value is approaching zero. Though from a purely academic perspective, the changes are fascinating.

Which I suppose is about as good a place to segue to links as any. Today at All About Beer I discuss a significant epiphany I had in Miami, Florida on the subject of beer. True story.
So join me back in the Abbey Brewing pub. Most beer culture in the world right now has its roots in European brewing. Abbey reflected that—with a healthy dose of American sprinkled in. As I mentioned, Miami is loaded with culturally-specific businesses, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary about a European-American pub making up part of the tapestry. And yet, in that moment, I realized how much American beer culture—especially craft beer culture—carries with it this European valence.
We also have the latest Beervana Podcast up and ready to caress your ears in our dulcet tones. In this latest episode, we discuss wintry beers, touching on topics like wassail, Lamb's wool, glühkriek, bière de Noël, and of course, price elasticities. We have also slightly tweaked the format to include news and beer recommendations (an extension of the "Beer Sherpa" feature birthed here on this blog) as well as a a "mailbag" feature, in which we are attempting to draw you into the discussion. We welcome questions, comments, criticisms, witticisms--anything that inspires you. Email us at the_beerax @

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