There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as manifesting your own reality and thanks to social media, I firmly believe that each and every one of us is fully capable of doing so. Whether it’s attending the right events, donning the right duds, being up on the latest makeup tips or rocking out to the latest and greatest jams – sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Hypem, Soundcloud and Yelp. Over the past few years, we’ve essentially been watching sites like Facebook and MySpace – broad, umbrella social media sites that encompass the entire breadth of what you would want to share – dissolve into specialized verticals. If you’re shaking your head saying “No, that doesn’t seem right”, take these facts into account; in 2012 Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 Billion and last May Yahoo bought microblogging site Tumblr for about $1.1 Billion. Whether it’s to be part of the competition, or remove the idea of it by purchasing the competitors – both Facebook and Yahoo! seem more than aware that there are other verticals to conquer; so it only seems right to be jumping on that social media train with them and watching the journeys unfold! Now, social media (in my opinion) has primarily one of two functions – either individually promoted posts strewn across the interwebs in hopes that someone – anyone – will acknowledge them, or interactive and community building. Tumblr, for me, sits happily between the two as the perfect fusion of sharing and caring whereas sites like Instagram, Hypem and Pinterest rest their laurels on promoting your individual posts, siding more on the sharing and a little less about the caring. Yelp, for me at least, is on the other end of the spectrum – they’ve built an entire enterprise on helping people cultivate a “small town” community in a big ass city; exhibit (a): me in Los Angeles.
Over the course of my five years in Los Angeles I’ve developed quite the knack for being social media savvy – especially when you consider the fact I dropped my Communications major before the first week of college had started. Not to say that I hadn’t grown up around all sorts of cutting edge technology and extravagant modes of communication + connection, but compared to my close circle of friends it’s something that I’ve gotten to hone in on and develop on my own time as opposed to it being force fed down my throat. When Yelp surfaced a few years back, it was a resource – a way of determining what’s hot and what’s definitely not and to be honest, it fell more on the end of promoted posts versus community outreach. Back in the beginning, I was I guess what you’d call a ‘Lurker’ – I was a non contributing member of the community down to search some data and get what I wanted but somewhere, deep in the heart of my second year something changed: I found businesses – like retail boutiques and family owned restaurants – that I thought were either misrepresented or underrepresented on Yelp and I took it upon myself to start reviewing them. And then, well, it just kinda kept going…and going; what started out as a save-me-from-my-own-boredom style hobby fully escalated to being a Yelp Elite in ’11. What’s that you ask? Oh, just a collection of the nicest, friendliest foodies you’ll ever meet: we get to go to kickass events, try out tasting menus and explore the heart of our cities thanks to our amazing Elite Team Leaders but get something straight before you join, you gotta give a little to get a little – kapish? Over the course of a calendar year, I probably pen at least 100 reviews – yeah, I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of opinion! But I love it…I love telling stories and letting people in on the good parts of my life; I like letting people live vicariously through my proudest moments and my failures. Ultimately, it comes down to this – I love sharing, and Yelp has given me a great, warm and welcoming community to do it with.
This past Monday, our Fearless LA Leaders took us out on the town to celebrate the amazing things that we’ve done and give us a taste of good things to come! Due to scheduling, time conflicts and availability I’ve only been to a handful of Elite events – of the ones I can remember, only a tasting at The Grill at the Beverly Center and a Spa Night at Blue Medi Spa. Truth be told, after I won their amazing Spa Package I had a heart-to-heart with myself and thought I’d rather sit a few out since I’d been so blessed with amazing luck and opportunity; but, when Yelp’s ‘Rock the Yacht’ event cshowed up on my radar there was absolutely no way I could say no – especially since there was a plus one! Ps. Ladies, take note – the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach – so, due to the transitive properties of math: being Yelp Elite is sexy, right? Right!
When Monday night came around I literally couldn’t sit still at work because I was so excited! One perk about working from home is that every half hour, I’d peruse my closet in search of anything nautical – I had snazzy stripes and a crisp color combination of blue, white and black in mind; and my closet delivered! We showed up to the Hornblower in Marina Del Rey around 6:30 and I’m so glad we did, the yacht was almost at capacity and it would have been beyond a shame to not get in. There was a hosted, open bar and so, so many vendors – including, but definitely not limited to: Bombay Sapphire, Hamilton Wines, Beach Pizza, Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop, Krave Jerky, Balvenie Single Malt Scotch, Grants Scotch Whisky, Scott Cellars, B Sweet, Sapporo and Stella Rosa Wines. Needless to say, I left with a big smile and a full (and slightly tipsy!) belly. Kudos to Hamilton Wines, Beach Pizza, Grants Whiskey and B Sweet for finding permanent homes in my heart and a mega-huge thank you to Katie B, The LA Yelp Elites and Yelp in general for always putting on such great events with amazing crowds. Until the next one; xx!