I have been a Yelp Elite for about 3 years and unlike Facebook and Twitter, where most of people’s updates go straight into the ether where they disappear without any major payoff, being part of this social epicurean network will certainly be a breath of fresh air. I am not undermining the power of Social Media, au contraire, it as proven to be extremely useful when used intelligently. Coca-Cola, Dove, Old Spice and countless DJs use it daily with great gains in relevance. However for most users out there, posting endless cat/dog/hamster pictures along posters highlighting a grade 6th English, vacuous pseudo-spiritual quote only comes at the price of them being thought as egomaniacs in waiting.
In case you may not know, Yelp tries to changes the game a bit by using crowd sourcing’s power for good and not to annoy. Users write reviews of restaurants they have visited writing down reviews of their experiences to highlight or to warn future foodies. Can this site be exploited? Sure. Like any other site, however users are encouraged to post their real (abbreviated) names along portrait photos to identify themselves to others. Like on many sites, recognition and a good reputation are very strong motivators to keeping the site useful.
PLUS, the delicious events “Elite Members” –those who express an above average dedication to the site, are invited on an almost monthly basis. These are only limited by the city’s community manager’s creativity and budget and vary from pizza nights to burgers to full-fledged whole pig on pit! There are also plenty of vegetarian options for those who are wondering… and either way the wine and beer, always flows freely: both figuratively and refreshingly literally.
So what was the most recent event? Oysters @ Samuel J Moore, a new, classic looking restaurant that I would have never known about if it was not for this event.
Oh, a night of Village Bay oysters, sparkling and white wine, great conversation and an opportunity to meet new people! It was really a good experience and unlike Facebook and Twitter which tend to be mostly inclusive to your own friends or strangers you are likely not to ever met, Yelp helps locals to meet like-minded foodies face to face who are specifically not in your circle of friends. All while, thanks to your reviews, actually helping others eat better. A win/win.
Kudos to all at Yelp.