I was in the Toronto airport recently and had some time to reflect on how much power, whether good or bad, society has been given by social media. Be it Instagram, FaceBook, Yelp or Twitter, anything you do, anyone you meet, and anywhere you want to go, people have messaged about it and those messages and posts can make or break an event/place/person.
President Obama has been in the news a lot lately discussing truth in news and how FB and Google need to ensure facts are being reported … “If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have serious problems.“
To a lesser extent the same is true about the average Joe/Josephine and their use of social media. How do we filter out the facts from the fiction? The first thing many people do upon experiencing something new (I am guilty of this myself) is post about it. More often than not, it is the negatives that get posted. When you have a problem, you want to complain and think someone, anyone, is listening. Social media to the rescue. A platform with no real checks and balances, and more often than not the first place we go to find out what others think of something we are thinking of doing, or to “research” a place we are thinking of going to. (I am guilty of this too, especially when it comes to hotels and restaurants)
So often I have heard the same comments about a place, only to find out, it was because one person experienced it and then everyone else just regurgitated what they read, retweeted, reposted, etc without actually experiencing it themselves.
Take for instance a prime example that just happened this morning in my office. Restaurant ABC gets a bad review on yelp and is taken as gospel because it had more than one bad rating, and as such the person I was talking to said they would not be trying it out. Who knows, it could have been a bad day, it could have been an isolated problem, it may have been just not quite what was expected, or the person giving the bad review was just being petty. Disgruntled worker maybe? You can learn from others mistakes or experiences, but that doesn’t mean that they will have the same experience as you. With restaurants especially, the particular cook can make or break a meal, your palate is different from someone else’s, maybe you like salt more than sweet for instance, etc., there are a myriad of possible reasons. And hey, who knows maybe it does legitimately suck.
Everything you post should be understood and interpreted as “in my limited opinion and experience at this particular time and location” but rarely it is. A few negative comments can quickly become a tidal wave simply due to our inherent nature of listening and trusting others opinions – It was on yelp/Facebook/Google/Twitter/ etc, so it must be true. We can’t prevent the rants and negativity but we can learn to take it with a grain of salt and realize it for what it is, free advice. And as with any advice, you usually get what you paid for.
One final note, getting back to the airport again. Chef Roger Mooking has a new (or at least new to me) restaurant in Pearson. Having eaten at another chef’s restaurant there, Massimo Capra’s Boccone, and thoroughly enjoying it we thought we’d try “Twist“. Lets just say I hope chef Mooking pops in again soon to make sure they are preparing his menu properly since his “not so philly cheesesteak” to use some of his own words when judging on Chopped, is a one note, dry offering, in need of some sauce. But that is just my opinion, well that and my traveling companion. So two free opinions. Take it with a grain of salt, … which wouldn’t have helped this sandwich.