The Social Media Gatekeeper

This morning an intriguing Twitter post by Pam Barksdale (@pam_barksdale) crossed my feed: “Perspectives on Wine Blogging: Wine Importer Bill Deutsch.” The post linked to a short interview conducted in preparation for the upcoming Wine Bloggers’ Conference. In the interview, Bill Deutsch, president and CEO of WJ Deutsch, a wine importer, discussed his perspective on wine blogs. (Read the interview is here).

For most of the interview, Mr. Deutsch was right on point, talking about the power of blogging influence.  I agreed with most of what was said, except for these 6 words: “Bloggers are the gatekeepers to social media.”

As content creators and influencers, bloggers are a critically important part of the digital and social ecosystems, that is for certain. But the gatekeepers?


Whether you are a wine producer, brand, distributor, retailer, journalist or expert, you are your own gatekeeper to social media. The very definition of social media is built around putting the power of content creation, curation and distribution in the hands of anyone who chooses to take on those roles. And the rewards are being reaped by those who best employ creativity, authority and authenticity in a variety of social channels, those who have chosen to be their own social media gatekeepers.

Unfortunately, most in the wine industry, much like Mr. Deutsch, are still playing by the old rules: We do our job and then convince someone in the media to spread the word about us. That’s not how success is achieved today. With social media, you do your job, provide interesting and compelling content about what you do and let your customers, fans, followers and even strangers help you spread the word. In the psychology of influence, the most prized media you can earn is a personal reference, and social media gives every player, from the largest to the smallest, a level playing field to harness and distribute those digital word-of-mouth referrals.

The foundation: You can only play on that level field if you take responsibility for being your own social media gatekeeper.

(By the way, if you don’t already follow Pam Barksdale on Twitter, you should start now.)

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