I used to think Yelp was pretty cool. Kinda like that slightly-older but still-in-high-school boyfriend you had way back when: he knew the best people, the best places to go, but once you graduated, you just knew he wasn’t really your style, so you went your separate ways. Yelp, like that ex of yours, is a great resource for information on local businesses, showing restaurants’ hours and menu offerings, publishing user reviews of everything from beauty salons to churches, and listing great local events around Boston. It’s definitely a resource I’ve used in the past when trying to plan a date, shopping trip with my roommates, night on the town, Saturday afternoon of culture (or coffee), and more.
While there’s still a place for Yelp in my heart, I’ve found lately that I much prefer using Twitter and Foursquare to find new places and things to do here in Boston. Yelp has become more of a secondary resource to me–a follow-up after I consult the other two platforms to get details (like hours and menu offerings!), and even then it’s usually only a Google search that leads me to visit Yelp. While I give Yelp big props for SEO (it’s almost always a top-five result when I search for a restaurant or other venue), I just don’t really need it anymore. Sorry, Yelp: I’m kinda over you.
Foursquare, on the other hand, offers a ton of relevant information, and the best part is that the recommendations I find there are mostly fueled by my friends–people I actually know, like, and whose opinions I respect. I can see where my friends have recently checked in. Depending on the night, that tells me about a fun new restaurant, whether the Red Sox are home or away, that a particular bar I normally enjoy is way too crowded to wait in line for, etc. And since it’s a mobile app, I can use it to find places near me no matter where I am in the city. Even if I’m not in the mood to meet up with my friends where they’re checked in, I can see what cool venues are around me and read tips from other people who have checked in there–they’re like little mini-reviews that give me a great nugget of information to help me decide whether I want to stop by.
Twitter is also a great recommendation engine, though not necessarily what it was designed for. Still, I have an extensive network of people I follow on Twitter who, through link-sharing, insightful comments, witty @ replies, and other useful information, I have come to regard as a resource for any decision about what to do, where to go, and how to get there. Unlike Yelp, updates from the people I follow on Twitter get pushed out to me in realtime, so I get an immediate update if a venue is closed for a private event (in fact, the restaurant/bar might even tweet it out from their own account!). Realtime feedback=realtime AWESOME.
So while there’s nothing wrong with Yelp, and I still fondly remember it from time-to-time, it’s not really my speed these days. What can I say? I’ve grown up in a world where instant is a requirement: I want what I say I want when I say I want it. Call me spoiled, but with the array of venues at my fingertips with Twitter and Foursquare around, I just don’t need Yelp anymore. Like that high school boyfriend, I’ve outgrown it. I’ve moved up, moved on.
About Elisabeth Michaud
Elisabeth recently joined Communispace Corporation in Watertown, MA after a stint as a PR and Social Media pro. By night, she is a social media addict, grammar nerd, Red Sox fan and adamant Gen Y advocate. You can find her on Twitter @emichaud or blogging over at social-logical.