Is it just me or has something started to stink in the #whiskyfabric lately?
Are people beginning to go mad with winter cabin fever? Maybe a little Lord of the flies starting to happen? Or is the simple reality that there are a few monkeys in the barrel that will eventually fling their poo?
For me, it started off quite innocently I think when a fellow blogger wrote a piece about a company coming out with a premium range. This blogger was branded a "ever ranting Barbarian" by another well known blogging site. Well, maybe it was a joke because the "Bavarian" didn't seem to mind being called that. Irked me a bit though.
Then it followed a few days later with a well-known American blogger telling another blogger he was uncomfortable with the other's recent whisky post. Conversation ensued, publicly for all to see and they both brought each other to task about several aspects of blogging. Everyone slowing down to watch the train wreck, blood and gore!? Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating A LOT. Honestly I don't know what came of it because I simply tuned out. But again I was a bit irked and thought why are you two airing dirty laundry on social media?
As I sipped some coffee yesterday morning (Monday March 10th) and scrolled through twitter I found another blogger posted a piece entitled "Sometimes you are sold a story and get a free bottle of whiskey". IMO, the blogger was personally attacking and criticizing another fellow blogger and, again I will stress that my perception was that said blogger was accusing the piece was written for a free bottle of whiskey. Unfortunately, it was the furthest thing from the truth. Blogger #2 may have used/published a poor choice of words in a question from the interview but DID not receive any free whiskey. They were simply asking/performing a Q&A, telling a story, nothing more... Damn our lack of blogging editors!??
So, of course me, and my big mouth made a comment. I didn't name any names, just wrote a tweet that I was really getting disappointed with some bloggers lately. Result: Cries of SELF REGULATION, Calling bullshit when you see it and that bloggers should be held to the same standard as journalists.
Ok, those could be considered valid points, sort of... Journalists usually get a degree so they follow a code of ethics and are held to standards. Calling bullshit when you see it, sure I do it often but shouldn't you check what exactly you are calling bullshit on first? Self regulation, ha... oxymoron. There is no whisky blogger hall monitor program that I know of? Beware of the whisky crusaders preaching the "one and only" gospel and out to save us all from whisky evils !??
So for me it's a matter of integrity. I will start with my definition: Integrity means doing what's right regardless of whether it's popular or not. Doing what's right even when nobody is watching. Doing what's right for the greater of all good. Yah, I know... roll your eyes. I have rose-colored glasses on, or do I? Who determines what's right vs wrong?
Question: Do you ever see Whisky Ambassadors bad mouthing each other or tearing each other down on twitter or during their masterclass? No... Their motto is: A rising tide raises all boats. It's about professionalism. Something that doesn't necessarily have to exist in the self-regulated world of bloggers.
Recently a fellow blogger posted something on twitter that, again IMO, wasn't necessarily correct (whisky chemistry). I DID NOT write a blog about it, I didn't even mention it on twitter for all to see. I contacted the person in private, provided an explanation, we had a fantastic discussion and I never asked or expected that my comments be known or posted. What that person did with that information was now their business. However, the other person chose to say something along the lines of: "I stand corrected, thanks goes out to Johanne for helping me on that". I felt like I helped and hopefully in a manner that didn't make the person feel or look stupid.
After many discussions about this whole poo throwing thing I said to Graham: This isn't what the #whiskyfabric is all about. To which his answer was: "Some people simply won't have the values of what most of us conceive the #whiskyfabric to be so you can't hold them to that..." Ahhhhh, light bulb! Values... Hmmmmm....
Grandparents are wise old birds... and although I don't remember my grampy too much, I know he often said: "What you are willing to say about others is more of a reflection of what type of character you are yourself". In other words, if you can only state the negative or put others down to elevate your own "importance" what does that say about you, as a person?
I tend to be mostly positive about life and people. I also prefer to talk to people directly, in private, if I have any issues or concerns. So for me the questions become: Is there really a need to tear each other down in front of all to see? What does that bring to the table? What does it exactly prove, other than: if one person is willing to attack or try to discount the words of another without first checking if it's warranted, what will he/she say about any of us when we are not looking? Integrity...
Yes, hold others to "task", yes write anything you want as a blogger, but be aware that your own words reflect your thoughts, your values, your opinions and although you are certainly entitled to them... it doesn't mean anyone else will want to read them or respect you for it. So eventually, you may be writing for just yourself or other like minded individuals who are just as hungry and willing to tear you down too.
Again... "Just" my opinion...
On a positive note, although the subject line of the blog piece has not been changed, the blogger that (again in my opinion) attacked a fellow blogger has retracted part of the piece that they originally wrote and stated why. I thank you for that...
Maybe a little bit of faith has been restored in those I consider part of my #whiskyfabric.