I suppose we should have seen this coming.
If you follow Jay Brooks on Twitter, you’ve seen how it’s been harder and harder to find people to host each month’s Session. More and more often someone (sometimes him) would step in at the very last minute, which is great but would of course limit participation as everyone only had a few days, at most, to come up with a post.
I say this knowing I am part of the problem. Many times I’ve read Jay’s pleas and thought, “you know, I really should host one of these months.” And every time, I’d ultimately chicken out. The thing was so precious to me that I never thought I was up to the responsibility. I didn’t want to be the one to “break it” by choosing a crappy topic, hastily writing a crappy post, and having no one else willing to participate for fear of being associated with something so crappy.
So it is with great sadness that I write this farewell to The Session. Although there’s a beginning and end to everything, it doesn’t make the ending easier to take. Especially when I feel at least obliquely responsible.
But I don’t blame Jay and Stan for pulling the plug. With all their other obligations, they could only keep it on life-support for so long.
So the question at hand is the future of beer blogging. Geez, Jay, couldn’t come up with something a bit less ambitious, like, say, the pros and cons of time travel?
My answer — who knows? If I could’ve predicted the future of anything I’d have picked up Apple stock in 1977.
Everything evolves, faster than we can track. I take Jay’s points that blogging itself probably isn’t as immediate a platform as it once was, with all the different social media platforms and formats now on the scene. All these competing communication modes will of course dilute any message’s impact.
But, this also gives us a lot more avenues to direct our messages, and the potential to reach a lot bigger audience.
The key, I think, is to use these additional resources to complement, and amplify, our message.
Also, for better or worse, beer (at least the segment we still refer to as “craft”) is still a bit of a niche, so like-minded folks are more likely to use blogs and other social media to find each other and keep abreast of industry happenings.
At least, that’s what I’M banking on.
Which brings me to my ultimate goal here — self-promotion!
OKAY, THE REAL POINT
I’ve been writing this blog as more or less a hobby for the last five years or so. No real focus in mind, mostly just my experiences at the places I visit, events I attend, and people I talk to.
Recently, I decided to sharpen the focus a bit to strictly coverage of the S.F. Bay Area beer scene. Although that’s pretty much been the default, since I live here, I’m getting a bit more explicit about it.
To that end, I’ve recently started a newsletter (featured in NAGBW’s most recent quarterly newsletter — thanks, Bryan!). It’s a curation-style newsletter, where I gather what I feel are the most interesting Bay Area beer happenings from the various news feeds I follow, as well as a tidbit or two from my blog, and collect them in an easy-to-read newsletter format.
Consider signing up, won’t you?
Now, before you start screaming about me using the demise of The Session as an excuse for a shameless plug, I assure you this does relate to our topic.
I’m considering using this technology that didn’t really exist when The Session first started to hopefully continue its mission.
In short, I’d like to add a Session-type element into each issue.
I’ve only published a couple of issues so far, so right now I’m trying to stick to publishing every two weeks. So I’m thinking (just brainstorming here) of maybe introducing a topic, or calling for ideas, in one issue, then in the next issue a couple of weeks later featuring all the responses.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Whaddya think? Think we can use a newsletter to keep the spirit of The Session alive?
I’d call it something different, of course. Jay and Stan came up with the concept, so the name should naturally stay with them. But I do think the conversations they started should continue. No end game, no agenda (except maybe to drive up my blog traffic, not gonna lie), just people airing their opinions about this wonderful industry we all love in a thoughtful, respectful manner.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.
So long, Session.