I recently reread “The Game” the extraordinary book by Alessandro Baricco on the digital impact on modern society. Even if it would be more correct, exploiting Baricco’s excellent intuitions, writing about the digital as an answer to the modern era.
In fact, Baricco, in his “The Game” completely overturns the digital topic and pushes us not to look at digital instruments anymore or to their impact on our lives, starting from the professional one, but to try and understand their genesis, the true reason of their birth and how these digital instruments can be efficiently used.
According to Baricco, and I follow is lead, the majority not only did not understand the value of the digital revolution, but still, at the present day, use this extraordinary instrument well below its potential and the reasons why it was born.
“A few centuries up ahead – writes Baricco – they will remember us as the conquistadores of a land in which today we are barely able to find our way home…”.
The brilliant writer from Torino adds: “our acts have already changed, with a disconcerting speed, but our thoughts seem to remain behind when it comes to name what we create every instant”.
In a much simpler way, we could translate Baricco’s thought on digital with having today the latest Tesla model, fully-equipped but we have no precise idea at what speed we can drive and, let alone, in which direction to go.
I tried then to translate how Baricco’s thought on digital might have an impact also on our wine world.
Many parallelisms came to mind that I could probably write about (and I am seriously taking that in to consideration).
I will try to indicate some aspects that I consider to be very interesting also for our wine sector, below.
The digital impact on the wine world
First among everything is the information access’ democratization. With the digital revolution, those who conceived it wanted to break the historical scheme of things that led a small élite to the information access and to their divulgation (often steered).
It is clear, as Baricco rightly underlines, that the fact that Google, for example, or Wikipedia allows theoretically everyone to access to an impressive sea of information does not mean that everyone is able to use these tools as best.
This extraordinary “facilitation” represents a unique and awesome opportunity. If I think of the wine world, however, how many of these information ca be used at best? In the end, looking closely, I have the feeling that there is a sea of information dedicated to wine on web but it seems that our sector keeps reading and recognizing the very same sources, the twentieth-century ones (Wine Spectator) to use another Baricco’s thought.
If we then broaden our gaze to the social world, the paradox of the slowness of our thoughts is even more clear. Suffice it to know to how many are the information (the so-called big data) that we can get from social media regarding, for example, the consumers profile.
I would say that this last aspect is one of the most evident symptoms of the difficulty that our sector has to exploit the digital to gather precious information on the most important subject of the wine sector, the consumer.
But try and image what we could do crossing the official information on the market with what can be said, or told, or analyzed on the web and on the social media.
Very few people work on this front and those that do that often complain that nobody, or almost nobody, wants to listen to them. It is like as if we had built this wonderful swimming pool, very wide and with very clean water but nobody wants to enter it because they think there are piranhas inside or we realize that we cannot swim.
All of this brings us to regret the past, when internet did not exist, when social media were not even imaginable, when smartphone were only shown in fantasy movies.
And now that fantasy is reality we are scared and we are not able to exploit it in the aspect in which, to tell it in a Baricco way, it was born.