You might have already seen the news about beer blogger J. Wilson of brewvana who was recently featured in the Iowa newspaper, the Des Moines Register. Wilson is doing a very creative experiment in which he will live on beer and water alone for 46 days, replicating the fasts of ancient monks.
We’ll let you read the article and his new blog, Diary of a Part-Time Monk, for details on the experiment. Here, we wanted to discuss the impact on his blogging and beer blogging in general.
Brewvana is a pretty well-read beer blog, with only a moderate Alexa rating (an indicator of visitor popularity) but a pretty good Wikio score (another indicator). However, writing about beer just gets one only so far in terms of wider exposure. With his new idea, J Wilson launched himself to a new level of awareness.
The Des Moines Register gave him front-page coverage for its story and that alone pushed him to new levels. We follow Google Alerts for “beer blogger” and saw references to the story 10 more times in the last four days. So we wondered, was this experiment a push for publicity or a true personal learning experience? Did he have any other motives? Following are a few of his insights:
Are you doing the experiment mostly for your own education or are you hoping to gain some public exposure as well? I’m doing it out of my own curiosity, but I think it has appeal beyond me, as well as beyond the beer geek crowd.
What do you hope to achieve with the public exposure for yourself or your blogs? My intent is to write a book chronicling the experience. Increased traffic on the blog(s) and a book will certainly warrant some exposure, and that’s fine. Taking the good with the bad, one will have to navigate certain criticisms that anonymity avoids. I know some will criticize this or that element of the project, but I have a thick skin. I simply want to write a book. And then another.
Why did you choose to create a new blog rather than record this on brewvana? Originally, this project was simply going to be a series to post to brewvana. Lent for me always just comes and goes, and I never really paid attention to the duration or dates on the calendar. When the idea first occurred to me, honestly, I figured it was a week or two, which would have been a piece of cake by comparison to the 46 days reality exposes. A little research made me step back and decide if was going to proceed. At that point, I decided to create a separate, stand-alone blog as part of the project; it just seemed to warrant it.
Do you think novel ideas like this can help beer bloggers as a group become more known to the public? Definitely. My ugly mug was on the front page of the Des Moines Register yesterday, and traffic has skyrocketed. To transition from blogger to author, for those that are able, will certainly call attention to the format, and possibly lend credibility to those looking to peddle a book idea.
Update: On March 10 J was featured in Draft Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and the Globe and Mail. Congrats! Update Two: J has now been featured in the Toronto Star and several other sites, plus we at the BBC just received a request from a Miami radio station to interview him!