Question(s): Does blogging about whisky, or anything for that matter, count as “writing”? Does “writing” about whisky and putting it into a blog count as “blogging”? And where does Twitter fit in to all of this?

I mentioned in a recent post that I basically backed away from writing about whisky a couple of years ago because I saw a saturation of the subject in blogs and social media. In my mind, there was a shift from the kind of writing I do – a creative non-fiction approach – to a straight forward, “This is what I think” approach set forth by a lot of bloggers.

I’d tie my whisky writing into cultural, social and literary references, whereas bloggers would say, “This is what I like.” They, for the most part, weren’t using writing as a creative art form. They used words as a way to describe, well, “This is what I think and like.” Time and effort wasn’t put into crafting sentences which embraced words in an evocative and provocative dance with the English language.

While the information and opinions provided by blogs were informative and sometimes interesting, I didn’t see blogs as really fitting into the realm of writing. So many of the millions of blogs out there , whether commenting upon whisky, politics, celebrity or “Man in Belgium changes his name to ‘Muffler’ and marries his car,” seemed to say, “Hey! Look at this thing that I found interesting!” and not much more. This approach was taking to an even further extreme with the word limits of Twitter.

Then I had a revelation, for me, at least. Maybe the problem wasn’t that blogs didn’t fit into world of “Writing” (make sure to read that word with a posh, nasally accent). Maybe the problem was that Writing didn’t fit into the world wide web of blogs. Not an issue of the new kid not being up to par with the wise man, but a problem of the old guy not being able to fit into the sleek, fast world of the young dude.

Finally, before the cranky old man took complete control over my mind, I realized that, ultimately, it’s all about communication and connection. Certainly, I think writing as a creative craft elevates information and opinion to a level that invites readers to challenge and expand their own thoughts and beliefs. However, I also now believe that blogging, or even tweeting, is a way to quickly connect people with a shared passion in a manner that is not as readily available with more involved and lengthy traditional writing.

I don’t know who, if anyone, will share their comments about this post. But, I know that if a person in Finland gets really excited about a new whisky and tweets her thoughts, someone from Scotland will immediately respond with his own tweet. And Canada… And the U.S…  And South Africa… And Israel… And Sweden… And the U.K… And…

Ultimately, we’re all trying to share our thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs as best we can, and hope our efforts connect with people. Some of us are just more long-winded than others.

Next week, I’ll examine the relationship of writing, whisky and communication through interviews with three whisky bloggers who have different approaches to sharing their passion.

6 Responses to “Showdown: Writing vs. Blogging vs. Tweeting”

  1. Matt

    Good to see the question out there Rob.

    Many bloggers may not be writers (yet), but it does not mean in time what might be fun now does not turn into something serious later. Like everything we need practice and though we may not be trained in the sacred arts, if you swing a wooden sword at a pole enough times at some stage you will always develop technique. Blogging has broken down a lot of barriers for many that otherwise never had the opportunity to try their hand at something else in amongst a 9 to 5 job. For some they have turned it into something professional which is pretty cool in my books.

    Your dead right that writing does not fit blogging in a traditional sense but I love reading blogs that clearly have been well written. It is that hybrid derived from a learned craft that makes me sit up and enjoy.

    On the other hand a bad writer taking oneself as a serious blogger taints social sphere to no end. Unfortunately it is not uncommon to see a successful blog go pro even when the writing skill is a dogs breakfast. The fact is there is more a market for that that there is for something with a bit of polish. An example may be there are people that drink whisky and then there are people that appreciate whisky, and we all know JW Red does not have the polish but sells more to the market than anyone else .

    Over at our little blog we do not take things seriously and write for ourselves even if it is not well written. The fact some outside our club actually have a read is cool too but our responsibility is to ourselves foremost.

    Keep it up I say. Maybe you wont have the following of a JW Red blogger, but instead revel in those that appreciate written and mature Single Malt.

    • Rob


      Thank you for your thoughts on the subject of blogging and writing. Yes; practice, practice, practice makes for good writing and blogging provides that opportunity for a lot of people who may not otherwise be able to exercise their interest in writing. I was fortunate in that I’d written more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine articles, and television and movie scripts before I wrote my first blog. I knew how to write. But, if I look back at some of my first articles and compare them to later pieces, they seem almost student-like in comparison. I had the luxury of developing as a writer.

      Ultimately, though, a writer needs something to say. Something personal and something that connects their thoughts with the emotions of readers. Like you, I find it very frustrating when I read blogs that are not only poorly written, but they don’t say anything. I link to some affiliate blogs from major sites like Fox Sports or CNN and get angry that I’ve wasted my time reading something that says absolutely nothing and doesn’t even bother to wrap its meaningless message in interesting language. It’s like an intellectual Twinkie.

      I appreciate your support and am going to continue writing as I’ve done my whole life: to first take pride and find joy in filling a blank page with something that touches me. And if it touches even one other person, that is a bonus. Quality over quantity. I’d rather rather encounter a single unicorn in a forest than 10,000 cows in a field.

  2. Matt

    Well through today I have only read maybe half a dozen of your posts in random order and enjoyed each one, and as you say they have something to say. I see I have many many more to track back through.

    Thanks to Mark G of Whisky Cast for posting a tweet today about your interview with him, as it has delivered something new to my door and I have already notified other club members to have a look.

    • Rob

      Thank you very much for spreading the word! I appreciate the effort. I think I have an interesting voice and perspective I can share, so the more people who read me, the better!

  3. G-LO


    I have been blogging for just over two years, and the last part of your article where you talk about making connections perfectly describes what motivates me to keep on blogging. It’s those connections that keep me engaged. Via the blog (and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest), I have been able to “talk” with people around the world about our shared interests (beer and whisky mostly).

    There are days when I think this is all quite silly and meaningless, but then I get a comment on the blog, or a “mention” in a tweet, or an email from a reader, and it puts a smile on my face. Blogging has been a fun way for me to break away from the humdrum that is my daily job, and although I would never consider myself a writer, I do put a great deal of effort into my writing and I try my best to put out a well written product.

    Just so you know, I found your blog via a link on the WhiskyCast Facebook page. I really enjoyed your interview with Mark Gillespie and that prompted me to read your other articles. Great stuff! Look forward to reading more.


  4. Rob

    My interview with Mark was fantastic, and I admire him for keeping his passion for whisky strong all these years. I think a common theme that runs through all of whisky, whether it’s from someone like Mark, or someone like Richard Paterson, or someone who has only recently found whisky and started writing about it, is that the people in the whisky community is what makes it such a fascinating experience. Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be here if whisky weren’t such a wonderful and complex drink. But, the willingness of people in the industry to connect, to exchange information and to be enthusiastic for each other, is what really drives this train.


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