They don’t Yelp here.

It’s hard because my perspective is skewed. I live in Austin, which is a very wired city. My friends are bloggers, Yelp elite, SXSW presenters, etc. There are Tweet-Ups every week, Bleet-Ups every season and there’s always an excuse to talk, online or off. So sometimes it’s hard to remember that these online tools aren’t as widespread as they are in our little wifi hub of a town.

One hilarious example of this was when my cousin from St. Louis didn’t know what lolcatz was. * DISCLAIMER: I KNOW THIS WAS ISOLATED- I KNOW MANY WEB-MEME LITERATE STL DWELLERS * But still, she and her boyfriend, ages 23/25 had no clue what a lolcatz was, what it meant to be “Rick-rolled” or even the meaning of “meme.” I had to have looked insane as I described each of these — no cell phone or laptop handy. “You see, they’re pictures of silly cats with grammatically incorrect captions…”

I can haz confusion.

I’m currently experiencing the gap between those who Yelp and those who don’t. I’m in Topsail, NC for vacation (I’m overlooking white-capped waves as we speak) and found myself completely unaided by the internet. TripAdviser has some information, there are some other various websites talking about the small coastal town, but when I turned to Yelp, my faithful guide, there was nothing. This was particularly disappointing when we were trying to locate a place to celebrate my brother’s girlfriend, Molly’s birthday last night.

Sure, Yelp does not a vacation make. But suddenly being without plentiful reviews has reminded me of how accustomed to this information I’ve become.

Topsail is a decently-known vacation destination. They have a tourism board. I’m sitting with Topsail magazine right now with a delightful cover of a sea turtle being rescued (they do love their turtles here) so I know they think about helping visitors. That being said, they haven’t started using Yelp to their advantage.

Yelp is a phenomenal tool for businesses. I’m obviously not the only one who has noticed this, so I will link to the others who have written better articles on the topic.

Here RuralTourismMarketing makes a case why even smaller towns should care.

Here the Get Smart Blog tells you 7 ways to use Yelp for a business.

I know the digital divide is defined as the difference between those who have access to internet and those who don’t. More and more, I see other digital divides. The differences between those who choose to participate and those who don’t, those who know of the tools and those who don’t.

Those who Yelp, and those who don’t.

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One Comment on “They don’t Yelp here.”

  1. Thanks for the mention, Kelly. I hope you stopped in at the Topsail VB and expressed your frustration at not finding anything on Yelp or TripAdvisor. One visitor can make a big difference in a small town. Your nudge could be just the thing to get the VB nudging local businesses to get with the program! I suppose that advocates for rural electrification were experiencing the same frustration 100 years ago.


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