Are viciously negative Yelp reviews putting an unfair stigma on small businesses? Today's two-part episode of The 404 Podcast weighs the effect of crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp and Zagat on independently owned establishments, and asks the question: will future generations understand topical shows like "The Simpsons" and "30 Rock?"
Part one: this insightful article in The Atlantic magazine questions the legitimacy of online reviews and the misplaced responsibility that Yelp bestows on citizen journalists with little or no training in voicing their opinions.
The piece calls out six distinct types of crowd-sourced reviewers who make us all look bad. Our least favorite is the "Hater's Ball," but we prefer to call them trolls--people who make scathing, borderline vindictive criticisms online about the most minor offenses at restaurants that they would never voice in person.
How many negative Yelpers do you think actually call the manager over after a meal to politely voice concerns? Most of the time, Yelpers don't think about how a single bad review can springboard a series of negative press that could potentially shut down an independent business, so make sure your complaints are legit before you post!
Don't forget that there are always real people behind the keyboard...and sometimes they have access to weapons.
Part two: This Salon.com article raises an interesting question about future generations understanding the pop culture references in topical television shows like "The Simpsons" and "Glee."
Since all three of us grew up with "The Simpsons," we spend a fair amount of time dissecting many of the jokes that flew over our heads as kids. Part of the reason we still continue to enjoy old episodes today is because each episode offers a second chance to pick up on jokes our youthful ignorance may have missed.
To its credit, "The Simpsons" and its network of supremely talented writers continue to maintain an even keel of high- and low-brow humor. Younger generations watching current episodes are exposed to a modern Simpsons family that shop at the Apple Store and watch viral videos, so those jokes may become obselete just as fast as your iPad 1.
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And don't forget that you still have time to enter our #kodak404 contest by tweeting us what you'd do with the money you'd save if you didn't buy printer ink. If your tweet is chosen, you'll win a Kodak 7250 all-in-one printer!
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