From Dictionary.com 1. capable of being believed; believable
2. worthy of belief or confidence
When I started my blog a few years ago, I never really thought about credibility. I figured I was just writing, putting my thoughts and opinions out there for the world to look at and take for whatever they’re worth. Isn’t that enough? After attending the Wine Bloggers Conference on credibility headlined by Steve Heimoff and Tracy Rickman I am not so sure anymore. Michael Wangbickler of Cavemanwines.com taped the whole session and can be seen here.
I would say that “most” wine bloggers get their start in the blogosphere out of pure hobby, as an outlet for an obvious passion about some topic, in my case wine. Writing daily musings about tastings, local happenings and tasting notes about the bottle of wine they had last night with dinner. At this stage do you need to think about credibility if you are just writing your opinion, in a glorified version of a digital diary? I never thought so!
But what about when you start to receive emails from wineries and wine clubs and public relations departments, wanting you to review their wine on your blog. Is this the tipping point? At this moment should you start to consider yourself credible in the wine world?
I don’t really know, as I said I never really thought about the issue. I figured that if a winery wanted to send me wine, they obviously read my blog and think I know or at least I sound like I know what I am talking about. A good portion of the banter in the credibility seminar circled around responsible wine blogging and what defines credibility in the wine world.
If you receive wine for a sample and you review that wine on your blog without a disclaimer that you received it for free, is that irresponsible and dare I say unethical? For myself I always post when I get a bottle of wine as a media sample, and others just explain so in the “about” section of their blog. But what if they do none of the above, is that wrong, or does that take away their credibility?
Defining credibility in the emerging wine blogosphere seemed to be a touchy subject as well. In my day job, credibility is defined by how many letters you have behind your name on your business card. (MS, PhD, etc.) A few things were thrown out as possible ways to judge credibility for a wine blog, such as readership, number of posts, or logarithms calculating the effect of a post on wine sales. But no one could really settle on what if any of the above really defined the whole story of blog credibility.
The best part and the scary part about a blog, wine or other topic, is that anybody can start one. It is up to the reader, whether it be my mom or a winery owner, to decide if I am the right outlet to talk about their product in the public domain.
Just my rambling 2 cents!