As I’m sure you’ve read by now, Wine X magazine is no more. Everyone has been weighing in on the demise, and on the not-so-sporting comments from founder & editor Darryl Roberts, as quoted in Decanter.
I’ve waited all day to get my thoughts together on this and still, I think they may just be random, so my apologies. You see, due to my career in elearning and collaborative learning, I tend to think of a lot of things from the perspective how people learn. You’d be suprised how analyzing how people learn affects everything from education to marketing.
Right now, in the world of education, we are facing the Silver Generation (sorry guys, it’s the Baby Boomers and older) and the Millenials, or Digital Natives. In between, we have the Cuspers, or Gen X and some of Gen Y.
Adults are interactive learners. Across the board, adults will learn more if they are somehow involved, via interactivity, via audio, or just via visual. In addition, the Silver Gen is accustomed to traditional learning styles, including sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook and needing to remember what they read. The Digital Native set is accustomed to the Internet – they can’t imagine a time when there wasn’t an Internet. These folks want their information delivered just in time and at their fingertips – engaging information relevant to the task at hand. In fact, they don’t worry as much about retaining the information as retaining where to access that information. Cuspers, like me, bridge the Generation Gap. We are accustomed to the traditional learning styles but we are adapting, rapidly, to the digital approach of just-in-time, meaningful learning.
So now you have a very basic idea of what is going on in the field of adult education. Now apply that knowledge to Wine X magazine. Originally, I believe they were aiming at me – the Cuspers, Gen X and some of Gen Y. However, as we moved forward and began to cross the digital divide, I’m not sure if Wine X magazine came with us. While I was never blown away by their web site, at least they had a strong web presence. For those of us who crossed the digital divide, though, that’s not always enough.
I was able to read several issues of Wine X over the years, and I sort of felt like I had left Wine X behind. I had moved forward in technology and truly, I found their pop-culture-littered wine reviews were more like attempts to be trendy than actual content. In fact, the whole magazine made me feel like they were trying too hard to be cool. It seemed forced. At some point, I felt like I was no longer their chosen demographic – that perhaps they were reaching out for the slightly younger generation with their writing.
The thing is, print just doesn’t completely cut it anymore. In instructional design, we’re learning that to be effective, information needs to flow freely, be available whenever our students need it in addition to a formal courses. We call it blended learning and the traditional course (whether in person or in "e") is now being effectively blended with collaborative conversation via wikis, blogs, and message boards. Via web sites with RSS feeds for all students to access.
Magazines wanting to attract the digital adapters (cuspers) and the following generations need to take these learning styles into account. We don’t just want to read your magazine. We want to discuss it, grow it, and contribute to the conversation. So come up with something and count me in to help you. I think we need a non-stodgy alternative, available to everyone whenever they’re in the mood. Although I was always annoyed by the writing style, I’ll still miss Wine X magazine and it’s intent, if not it’s execution.
There you go. My slightly convoluted thoughts, rather late on inthe evening, on where media needs to go, wine or otherwise, based on how people learn. I love it when I get a chance to combine two of my passions.
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