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“You’re wrong!” The Age newspaper tells the Melbourne dining public

by Wendy Chamberlain on June 25, 2012

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It seems social media has set the cat amoung the pigeons over at the The Age.

With the rise and rise of social media (and the voice of the public that goes with it), sites such as TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon and Yelp are booming.

Often the first place many savvy travellers look when visiting an unfamiliar city, these sites allow the general public to share their genuine experiences about the service they receive, the quality of the food and the overall impression of a dining establishment.

It seems, however, that The Age thinks you and I are not qualified when it comes to giving a recommendation when we eat out.

Deborah Gough’s article in the paper on Sunday (read it online here) takes an almighty swipe at the Melbourne dining public.

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“Whereas traditional restaurant guides, such as The Age Good Food Guide, will visit some restaurants up to six times before awarding its top prizes, Urbanspoon lets users ”like” or ”dislike” a restaurant without leaving their living room.” states Gough.

We all know that print media has been hit by the advent of Social Media. Hard.

Circlulation is down. Sales are dropping.

More and more, people go online to catch up with what is happening in the world.

So it makes sense that those same people would visit online review sites to see what their peers are saying about a restaurant.

And that is what makes these sites so powerful – the reviews are added by real people, just like you and I, that want to share their experience when dining out.

So is this a case of Social Media sour grapes?

What makes this article interesting is the people that were sourced to comment.

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First of all, we have the Good Food Guide editor Janne Apelgren, pointing out the gaping “chasm between professional and public opinion.  Apelgren said online reviews were useful but agreed results could be skewed by paid reviews or voting and vindictive reviewing. ”No doubt, there is sabotage going on as well,” she said.”  Agreed with whom?  And sabotage?

Um, doesn’t The Age publish the Good Food Guide…

Next, we have commentary from co-owners of the cafe that last week won Best Food Cafe in The Age Good Cafe Guide, lamenting that “Urbanspoon’s rating system made it too easy for rival businesses to round up friends or false identities to besmirch others”, refering to the practice as trolling.

For the record, Pope Joan is ranked

I think the important point to remember in all of this is we are now a very mobile, very social society.

A case of “he said” “she said”?

In the end, it doesn’t matter.  The damage has been done.

We have become a society where our every move can be posted, tweeted, shared and pinned.

Do we have any recourse? Do you really know who is watching?

Security on social media sites has always been a hot topic.

It’s one of the reasons I do not have “check in” enabled on Facebook.  Sure, I can check myself into places, but who else is checking you in?  Do you know?

It’s easier to just not do it.

And easier to keep your mouth shut on a plane, it would seem.

Thoughts?

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By Wendy Chamberlain
Copyright 2012 Savvy Web Women Pty Ltd

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Wendy Chamberlain is the founder of www.savvywebwomen.com and creator of the Savvy Online Engagement Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to use online strategies to connect with key stakeholders, influence decision makers and be seen as a thought leader, all via the use of social media. To receive your FREE Special Report and weekly how-to articles to expand your online List Building toolkit, visit www.wendymoore.net.

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