I never fully chomped on the Foursquare bait that some of my Calgary online counterparts have so fondly adopted. The idea is good, but it only seemed partially developed. With not much more than check ins to entice me to participate, and no solid crew of friends who were using it as well, I pretty much left location based apps like Foursquare for others to explore for now.
About three weeks ago, I was formally introduced to Yelp. The site was on my radar of things to check out, I just hadn’t gotten that far down my list yet. I’m thankful it was bumped up my priority pole. Yelp is a service I’ve really been able to sink my teeth into. Those missing pieces from Foursquare I mentioned? Yelp is my cake with extra frosting.
What is it about this site that I like so much? Well, the first is the reviews. The writer in me loves the fact that I can put my creativity to work in the places I choose to review on the site. The socializer in me enjoys being able to connect with other ‘Yelpers’ on the site to compliment each other’s reviews, share and discuss various topics on the conversation boards and find new and interesting people to befriend. And my inner explorer is already making notes on places to try next (Thai Nong Khai, Lloyds Roller Rink, John’s Breakfast and Lunch to name a few).
There’s also the fact that Yelp seems to draw out the type of people who always know where the good spots are in town. Most of us probably have one or two people in our networks that we could ask questions like ‘where’s the best Italian food in town?’ or ‘what cool places are there to take my out of town guests?’ Yelp is giving me even more sources to answer those questions. It’s much easier to be ‘in the know’.
Yelp also has good activity in a lot of major centres all over North America, so whether I’m looking to keep things fresh in my own backyard or want to guarantee a good experience while I’m visiting another city, this site has the community component that earns my trust on what its users are recommending.
My vote is we’ll see more models like Yelp this year and next as the line between online and offline continues to blur. So until Foursquare, Gowalla, or any of the likes can find a way to cover all of the bases that Yelp does, or do something even better, I shall Yelp on!