It has been observed many times that blogging, Web 2.0, and social media are effective because today’s consumers are more intersted in the opinions and recommendations of their peers than those of professional reviewers, critics, and experts.
Certainly the success of the reader reviews on Amazon.com is a great example of this.
But the dominance of Citizen Journalism over professional journalists is not universal. A case in point: the restaurant industry.
Even in this era of social networking, professional restaurante reviewers remain a powerful force in the business.
Restaurants keep extensive files on food critics. So when a food critics enters a restaurant, the staff is alerted to his presence — and can pull out all stops to ensure a good review.
Restaurant reviews carry so much weight with the dining public that “a bad write-up can land a restaurant on life support, crippling its business,” writes Adam Goldman in The Record (8/15/08, p. 30).
Successful NJ restaurant entrepreneur Drew Nierporent says seeing a bad review of your restaurant in the morning paper is “to wake up and read your own obituary.”
We are living in an era where consumers, not marketers, have the power.
And where readers, not the media, are increasingly communicating the voice of public opinion.
But not totally.
Not yet, anyway.