Tag Archives: yelp

Virtual Communities…Is it the new face-to-face?

ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member I...

ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group Meeting on Jan 24 2009 (3 of 3) (Photo credit: ALA staff)

Have you ever had an issue with a product and logged on to the company website and received valuable information about repairs and short-cuts you can take to improve? Have you used sites like Yelp to review discussions amongst customers about services or products that they have used? Well, these types of virtual communities are everywhere. From retail leaders like Amazon to colleges and universities around the world offering online classes to online dating sites like eHarmony, virtual communities are growing by the dozens and we are relying on them more and more.

As social media continues to grow, virtual communities will continue to evolve. Patients will communicate with one another in discussion groups to share experiences and ask for advice from other patients and eventually doctors. Consumers will continue to share their feedback by rating businesses and products. Singles will continue to use online dating services to find their future spouse. Websites like will allow individuals to share recipes, cooking secrets and short cuts as well as helpful hints to other cooks. We play games online with people around the world and don’t know who they are.

These trends will continue to grow as more and more people continue to leave busier and busier lives and utilize their mobile devices as their primary means of communications. I am not sure how virtual communities can grow more than they are already are and I am not sure of what triggers cause the movement. But what I do know is that you will be able to do almost everything in a virtual community. The only downside that I see is the next generation will lack social skills because they will rely so heavily on virtual communities. Face-to-face communication is becoming extinct.


Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Social Media….Say what?!

If this were five years ago I would be thinking that I am not going to write a blog about social media tools. By the time I finish writing, this fad will be over. Well, that was five years ago. Today, I write this blog thinking about how much different social media is today and the variety of tools that are now available for those who want to venture in this world.

Many of us use these tools and probably don’t even realize that they are part of the social media revolution. Social media goes beyond our regulars – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It encompasses more than that. I am going to profile three tools that you may or may not use regularly and may not have realized that it is part of the social media.

Yelp (

Yes, Yelp! Looking to find out what other people think of a restaurant, doctor, clothing store, pet groomers, churches, etc. Yelp is a great way for consumers to rate their favorite (and not so favorite) service providers.  Yelp launched in October 2004. The site was original designed as an email recommendation program and grew into an online recommendation program. This site has more than 61 million unique users in more than 13 countries.

You can give a rating up to 5 stars and commentary to warn or promote a business that you have received services from. They even have a ratings filter to help protect businesses and consumers from inaccurate or fake reviews. What a great way to express your appreciation for your favorite business and warn people from that dreadful one!

Yahoo Instant Messaging (

You probably don’t even remember when Yahoo Pager Launched in March 1998. I know I don’t! This service is provided free with a Yahoo ID. Today, this program that not many people utilize, is very helpful especially in an office setting. So much so, many businesses utilize instant messaging tools to help employees communicate quickly amongst themselves in and out of the office.

I must confess that I have IM’d my daughter when I was in the basement and she was in her room. It didn’t make sense to yell or call her or ever walk up three flights of stairs when I could see that she was “available to chat”. I have also used it to have conversations with my staff without picking up the phone, sending an email or walking to their office because I may have needed a quick piece of information.

I predict that more companies will allow staff to utilize one of the many IM tools to allow for faster communication. Employees need to remember, history on conversations can be saved.

Skype (

Last summer, my family welcomed a student from France named Gladys. We were excited to show her all about Chicago and the U.S. We miss Gladys so we called her over Christmas break. No! Not on a landline. We “Skyped” her! It was so wonderful to see her and her family in almost real-time. Of course, visibility is subject to your internet speed but overall, it is a good program. You can video chat with anyone in the world as long as they have a computer, camera and internet access. And, more importantly, it is free. Even businesses are using Skype to communicate with remote staff. So what not try it?

Skype has 663 million users as of September 2011. It allows users to communicate with others by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. Skype does offer premium services that you pay for but for basic one-on-one video chatting, it perfect and free. I haven’t “Skyped” my daughter in her bedroom yet. But I do use it when I am traveling for extensive lengths of time to check in and see my family’s faces. Skype is a great service that many don’t take advantage of yet. But I have a feeling, as more people expand their knowledge of the tools out there, the more these services will be used.


Jackson, Nicholas. Infographic: The Incredible Six-Year History of Yelp Reviews. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Skype. Retrieved from

Yahoo! Messenger. Retrieved from!_Messenger

Yelp. Retrieved from,_Inc.


Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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