Thursday, June 17, 2010

Undue Stress?

Life's pretty good right now. I'm managing a wicked 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, everyone at home seems healthy and happy, the wine cooler is filling up nicely with some soon-to-be really enjoyable bottles while the wife gets back into wine-drinking shape, and the anticipation of an unforgettable week in the Pacific Northwest hangs tantalizingly close to realization. I should be relaxed and ready to enjoy. So, why do I feel like Douglas Quaid, only moments ago jettisoned into the inhospitable Martian atmosphere, gasping for breath as my head is about to inevitably explode?

(for the record, Quaid's head doesn't explode, and all ends up happily-ever-after as the atmosphere of Mars is equalized to support human life. But you already knew that. I mean, who hasn't seen Total Recall 25-50 times??).

So, knowing that things will work out (all my wisdom to-date comes from Arnie movies), it's not as bad as it seems. In fact, the "stress" I'm feeling is the product of an incredible honor. A couple months ago, I was asked to participate on a panel for a breakout session at the 2010 Wine Bloggers' Conference in Walla Walla, WA. Joining me are milk-drinking stallions Andrew Lazorchak of Vineyard Vlog fame, and Ben Simons of Vinotology (the world's first Vinotologist). These cats have the chops. And then there's me: some jerk who assumes everyone loves Total Recall (it's still a safe assumption, right?) and who compares a Cab/Merlot blend to Larry Appleton of TV's "Perfect Strangers".

Basically, I'm charged with helping teach- yes, I think that's accurate- teach other bloggers on how to make their blogs better. I think I might have some good ideas, but we're talking about 300 of the finest web-based vino-verbiage slingers this side of Venusville.

Don't get me wrong: I'm very excited about this opportunity, and very humbled to have it. I just don't want to waste anyone's time. I want to knock it out of the park. I think all comedians (if I can call myself one...maybe that's comedy in itself)- to an extent- have an insecurity and a need for approval from the audience. I intend to give said audience the best damn show I can. So, a little stress comes with the territory.

Here's the opus, neatly delineated on the Wine Bloggers' Conference website:

Top Gun Blogging: A panel about you, the leader of your digital community, taking it further. A discourse on making your personal identity resonate, and how to establish a brand as a culmination of your behavior, thoughts and actions. A field blend panel attempts to tackle the many ways to intensify and add poignancy to your blog and your digital presence. Conversion, growth, and click-thru is a function of content + perspective + vision. What are you doing now, what can you be doing, and what should you be aiming for to pioneer your community through words and digital manifestations based on the real world around you? Panelists include Andrew Lazorchak of Vineyard Vlog, Ben Simons of Vinotology and Joe Herrig of Suburban Wino.

With that in mind, along with my neurosis to give the audience the very best, I'm going to go the route of the great Joe Roberts, and asking if there's anything in particular you'd like to see discussed. The session is only as valuable as the audience's level of attention, so I just want to make sure what I'm discussing falls in line with what you want to hear.

So- especially if you're going to be in Walla Walla, and especially if you plan on attending this session- please feel free to drop some feedback here. Hopefully, I'm already on the right track, but I'm certainly not above gleaning some ideas from my smart and attractive visitors to my little piece of cyberspace...

C'mon, dear readers. Start the reactor.

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