Sunday, January 18, 2009

Twitter Taste Live adds to the Twitter pub

Taste Live
Last night, Saturday, January 17, 2009 was the inaugural evening for Taste Live. It was an informal virtual gathering of people using technology to host a tasting of four Trappist ales. There were anywhere between 20 to 30 participants. Each participant where asked to purchase between 1 to 4 different Trappist ales, taste them simultaneously from where they were at, and post "tweets" about their reactions to the brews.

The host site, Taste Live (TL), started out as a virtual tasting social media site for wine enthusiasts, but quickly expanded to include groups for beer and cigars as well. People who joined TL could sign into their Twitter account on the web site and send 140 character messages (or tweets) with a special #ttl tag included. Those messages were captured and displayed on the TL web site in nearly real time so as to make the virtual tasting appear in one "room".

There were four beers being sampled during the event: 1) Chimay Red , 2) Chimay White, 3) Westmalle Dubbel, 4) Westmalle Tripel.

The event lasted nearly 2 hours with participants coming and going as they were able to join in. I was able to join in for the better part of the 2nd hour. I had a couple of the beers and had to rely on notes from previous tastings to chime in for some of the beers.

I believe this virtual tasting session was a success for the most part. The participants seemed to be having a great time. Many even shared pictures via Twitpic of their experience while tasting. Several new friends and followers were made at the same time.

Other sites are starting to chime in on their opinion of TL., A Good Beer Blog, Beer Babe, techcommdood and had interesting views of this event, not all of them positive.

While I had a good time and felt that TL was a nice application of the Twitter Pub, I couldn't help but think that the non-participants who were followers of the TL participants got flooded with tweets that they knew little about. It may have made using twitter for them a bit annoying and difficult to follow their other friends tweets that night.

There is also the anti-social aspect of using computers as a replacement for meeting up with people face to face. While Twitter will never replace the need to have actual encounters in person, it can help get you "out" there when traveling around just isn't in your interests for that point in time. I'm not advocating that we all turn into cave dwellers and drink "alone", but for those times that when all of your "friends" that you want to mingle with are scattered across the globe, Twitter at least gives you a chance to touch base and share a virtual drink.

If Twitter is going to blossom into a service that can host events like TL, it will have to evolve and offer better ways to isolate topical conversations or offer filters so that the rest of the world won't be inundated with banter that holds little interest for them. This was a fun experiment, one that I'm sure will continue to change as the need sees fit.

There are more Twitter Taste Live sessions being planned now. The next tasting will include beers from Dogfish Head and Southampton Ales in early February. Check the official TL web site for details. Sign up to be a member if you haven't done so already.

Related articles:
- Twitter is the new beer pub. (
- 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals.
- Who is @ChipperDave?

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