Wines of Chile » WoC Blog » Twitterquette: To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Twitterquette: To Tweet or Not to Tweet

By Margaret Snook for Wines of Chile

twitter-bird2The wine world was fast to pick up on the benefits of Twitter. A quick check shows thousands of purple stains on the wine-splattered Twitterverse:
product-promoting wineries, terroir-hunting winemakers, swirling-sniffing-spitting critics, and enthusiastic consumers all contributing their two cents worth, 140 characters at a time.

In the world of media–social or otherwise–it’s all about communication and getting the word out fast, and Twitter makes spreading the word faster and easier than any other medium to date… but is there such a thing as too fast?

Have Miss Manners and Latin America’s own manual-writing Carreño spoken out on “Twitterquette” yet?

The question came up last night when Chilean winery Canepa launched its new Genovino Carignan (very interesting wine, and well worth looking for, by the way). I was scolded by a colleague for tweeting about the event during the presentation. It was disrespectful, I was told, to do an instant relay to the world that Canepa was launching a new Maule Valley Carignan from Cauquenes; that the formerly brutish Carignan had polished up nicely and earned its society debut; that old-vine, dry-farmed Carignan was a new opportunity for Chile to distinguish itself, etc.

I was surprised. Not even a week ago the owner of another winery told me that he was very happy to see that at least two of us were sending out tweets during his latest launch–one of us  in English, the other in Spanish. Immediate world-wide product communication. Isn’t that a marketing dream come true?

So I’ve been mulling it over. Yes, it can be distracting to see someone madly hammering away on a smart phone. But I suppose the same argument could be made for those of us who scribble copious notes. Or take pictures. Or use a tape recorder. Perhaps all of these mediums–now so widely accepted as necessary tools of the trade–were once considered distracting and disrespectful.

Or… perhaps it’s a matter of becoming accustomed to new technology and accepting that cell phones and social media are no longer just leisure items or signs of distraction, but have become incorporated into the essential communications tool kit.

To Tweet or not to Tweet

So now I put it to you:

Writers: Do you tweet at wine events? At product launches? During tastings? I’ve confessed I do. In fact, it’s part of my job description at Wines of Chile to tweet during WoC events. In fact, Wines of Chile has TWO Twitter accounts, and you can follow us at @WinesofChile for general news and @DrinkChile from our US office.

Presenters: Do you object to having your message communicated immediately?

Consumers: Do you follower Twitter for super timely wine information?

Time for YOUR opinion! Please leave your comments below!

New to the Twitter concept? Not sure what the fuss is about?
Check out: the Twitter 101 guide for businesses.


19 Responses to “Twitterquette: To Tweet or Not to Tweet”

  1. Juan Somavia says:

    Thanks Margaret for raising this issue.

    I think that throughout history, the evolution of communications technologies have, by definition, a very direct effect on how we interact, and therefore, an effect on the prevalent (and therefore acceptable) social practices.

    As always, change requires adaptation… until the next change arrives.

    Bottom line: instant global communication is what is possible today and what all of us, consumers and marketers alike, are embracing by the minute. What should follow is adaptation and understanding that instant communication, through twitter or other means, is not disrespectful, but a genuine interest to share -on real time- an experience that somebody feels it is worth sharing with its social network.

    From a winery and marketer point of view, I think there are only upsides for having “live coverage” of a wine tasting!

    My two cents.

  2. Very interesting topic, Margaret! We’ve run into this many times, receiving the disapproving glare of an attendee at a function where we are tweeting/taking pictures/updating Facebook.

    I can certainly understand people thinking that it may be rude if they are unaware of the situation, but one has to think that if I was wearing a hat with an index card that said “Press” and was furiously scribbling into a Moleskin, they would have no problem whatsoever.

    The timing of information is much more important now than ever before. It doesn’t always matter whether you print it right, rather you have to print it FIRST, mistakes and all. My personal opinions on this aside, it’s the nature of news, and Twitter fits that mold perfectly.

    Thanks for the great article!

  3. Hi Margaret,

    Yes, I do tweet during wine events including blogger events such as TasteCamp East, Wine Bloggers Conference, License to Steal Wine Marketing Conference, during virtual tastings and on winery visits. I think there’s a lot of value in sharing live pictures to let your followers feel like they’re there with you in addition to impressions of the wine and event.

    I’ve heard of winery owners who are put off by customers and writers tweeting from their smartphones but at the same time, some are warming up to the real time benefits.

    I’m curious to see what consumers will say as to whether or not they’re looking for super timely wine info.

  4. Diego says:

    Actually I was at the same event and I was also tweeting…

    I think we are “helping” Canepa to communicate Genovino Carignan to the world

  5. Editor says:

    Hi everyone- Thanks for the support!
    I really do think we’ve entered a new era of communications…
    I have, on occasion, commented to a presenter either before or after the event that I was tweeting their info–just so they know I’m not bored and playing around…

    @Diego- that means at least 4 of us were getting the word out in real time last night! Hopefully the Canepa team caught on to that!

    Would love to hear from others!

  6. Matt says:

    I think it entirely depends on the situation. At a wine launch with press, it is totally acceptable. However at certain times it’s a bit off. Examples

    Tweeting whilst driving sucks. No names mentioned

    Tweeting whilst I am photographing you. No names mentioned

    Tweeting during sex! very off putting

    A while ago I was having dinner with Nicolas Catena and a few journalist types. One food and wine dude was Tweeting the entire time. At one point Nicolas shouted at him. “Hey stop playing Tomb Raider on your phone at my dinner table”
    The journo replied, as quick as a scared haggis, “but I have the top score, give me two more minutes”!

    • Editor says:

      @Matt Hahahaha! Totally agree with your “don’t” examples!! And of course I am not suggesting we tweet during a business conversation (and games–well that’s just plain rude)… but when writers are invited to get information and transmit it… I think the sooner, the better, right?
      And, BTW- there are some people who you probably SHOULD photograph while tweeting–to have the most realistic portrayal, I mean!

  7. Editor says:

    @Matt-giving your comment a bit more thought… Of course there is a line between when it is appropriate to tweet business and when not to.
    I’d love to get some other opinions in on this, but right now I’m thinking that a presentation is a one-way flow of information and tweeting in that case is fine. A conversation, on the other hand, requires an exchange between the parties directly involved and therefore tweeting would not be acceptable because you really can’t tweet and hold up your end of the conversation at the same time…
    Anyone else want to weigh in on this?

  8. Sven says:

    I don’t even think it is worth wasting much time on this subject. Tweeting/typing/writing/taping/filming/recording are all different ways of communicating.
    Although it is much cooler to pull out your Moleskine notepad and take notes there, a smartphone will do as well. By the way: @polkura @movichile cachai?

    • Editor says:

      @Sven- yep–all means of communicating–just some are faster and have a wider reach than others! And yes, Wines of Chile follows both Polkura and Movi! (We’ve got an eye on you!!) ;-)

  9. Matt Wilson says:

    The next wine launch I attend, I will be taking a basket of carrier pigeons, a fire for smoke signals and a set of message drums. lets see them complain about Tweets then

    • Editor says:

      @Matt You’re a genius!! I LOVE the carrier pigeon idea! REAL tweets! You’ll have to reserve the smoke signals for Colchagua though- no open fires allowed in Santiago!

  10. Angela says:

    I was one of those people tweeting during the event. I agree with all the comments here.

    I think it is aproppiate to tweet during a presentation if we do it with respect for those who worked hard to prepare the event. Same thing goes for taking notes, asking questions, talking on the phone, taking pictures, etc.

    In order to do our job we should always be polite and respect the others.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Angela- Yes, I later checked “Genovino” on Twitter to see what others had said about it and saw that you were one of the four in action that night.
      You’re right- respect is the key word in all of this … Respect for those who have gone to great pains to put the presentation (or tasting or other event) together, but also respect for others attending, which is why I draw the line at talking on the phone–talking in general disturbs others… How many times have I been unable to hear because someone was talking on the phone, or worse yet chatting… It all boils down to just common courtesy for others… even if you aren’t interested, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to just be quiet for a little while… but now I’m getting off on another tangent!

  11. Janeen says:

    At large events, especially press events, I don’t see anything wrong with tweeting. If a person feels that they are distracting the speaker, they can always step to the side of the room. For smaller events, such as dinners and small group tours, I think courtesy trumps tweeting. In such cases, I would let others know what I was up to just ask them if they minded. I will often excuse myself and go to the restroom to check email, so I suppose that might be an option if the other guests did not approve at tweeting in a small group.

  12. Daryl Woods says:

    On a wine brand client’s account I follow many Canadian wine bloggers and they tweet like mad. Especially the younger ones. Press events, dinners, personal consumption. All with pictures. I think I know every detail of their wine soaked lives. And perhaps oddly, I actually find it interesting. But I do on occasion think about the situation they’re in and wonder how other people react to pics and pecs.

    • Editor says:

      Daryl- It’s certainly a whole new world out there and information gets spread faster and farther than ever before. I like today’s 1st-person approach with the 2-or-more-way network-type interaction that the new social media allows, but I too find myself wondering how much information is too much information.We seem to be in a sort of communicational transition phase, and it will be interesting to see where it leads!

  13. This is a very interesting topic. I do live tweet at events because I know people are interested in learning more about the topic. Social media is live and happening now, so it sometimes doesn’t make sense to tweet a lot later when the event has already passed… the excitement is sometimes gone. I’ll usually tweet little bits, but not too much because I also like to be in the present moment and listen to what is being said by people who are actually in the room!


  14. Editor says:

    Hi Katie-
    I couldn’t agree with you more! I think the issue is that we’re in a transition phase and not everyone sees Twitter as a valid news medium… but that’s changing quickly. The more good information we put out via Twitter, the more people will come to appreciate and expect real time info!

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