Social Media – Alternate Reality, Virtual Reality of Just Plain Reality?

I am about to turn 50. I have children who are 24 and 21. I tell you this solely for perspective on the fact that social media did not exist for me until 2008 – I was 40 when I jointed Facebook. There was MySpace prior to that and the only reason I know this is because my preteen children were forbidden from having one. It wasn’t until the Fall of 2012 that I would discover Instagram. Twitter was not my thing until I created Side Hustle Wino – almost exactly 2 years ago.

It is amazing to me that I have developed a “community” of people that I feel I practically know IRL (in real life). There are online “chats” that are set up to happen on specific dates and times and you participate by using a specific hashtag #.  There are two that I try and participate in regularly – one is #WiningHourChat and the other is #PinkSociety.

If you are not an active Twitter person, it is probably really hard to wrap your head around this sort of thing – I know it was for me. But, I have come to enjoy these sessions and learn so much from them. People will chime in from all over the map and you simply introduce yourself and tell people where you are from and #WIYG (what’s in your glass). This is such a great way to see what people are drinking and get their thoughts on it.

Pink Society digs in a deep, and has enlisted a winery – usually a small production winery somewhere in California, from Napa to the Central Coast to host regular online events called a Pink Party. Pink Society poses several questions to the owner and/or winemaker of the winery that are answered with a short (less than 1 minute) video. It is such an educational and entertaining way to learn about smaller wineries, the wine making process, different varietals and a myriad of other topics that might be covered. Here’s an example:

Question

In addition to the conversation between Pink Society and the winemaker, participants who are following along can ask questions that are answered as well.  I have really begun to look forward to these events because they are so interactive and you get to “participate” in really great conversation. The founders of Pink Society are definitely on to something with this concept.

I  have also become a huge fan of Instagram – I know for sure that Instagram is so well loved because it’s about the pictures and not the words. I have seen very little ranting on Instagram,  just beautiful pictures. But, there is a way to be more interactive on Instagram as well – it is a feature called Instastory where you can make a brief video to talk to your followers. On a personal note, if it weren’t for Instastory I’d have no idea what is going in on my youngest daughter’s life! On Instastory I often get to view people live in a vineyard or traveling somewhere and you get to experience what they are experiencing – sort of – but it is still much more worthwhile experience to me than I would have ever imagined social media to provide. It is fascinating to me that my first foray into social media – Facebook – has become a dinosaur that I spend very little time on anymore. Too many opinions, very little fact, and it seems to be the choice of those looking for an argument. People who still want to argue about elections and whether the Earth is round or flat….nobody needs that.

So, I’m not sure what kind of reality Social Media is, but it is a reality. Every business, person, school, cause, organization and many, many 4 legged creatures have a Social Media presence. Many businesses even have SnapChat for Goodness sake! SnapChat  is like some new-fangled gadget that escapes me, but I am trying to garner enough courage to post my first Instastory.

And while not quite social media, my last article was about an entirely virtual wine tasting event that was incredibly enjoyable and educational. Murrieta’s Well, Livermore Valley

The point here is that there is a community to social media than can be very positive. It can be inclusive. Most surprisingly to me, it can be an educational and  a worthwhile way to spend some time.

 

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