Yelp is smart to supplement its community-building efforts with offline, geeky parties and events. It's where the Yelp Elite and newbies can gather, gorge, and review one another in person.
People make a lot of worldwide connections through social media, but local Yelp members — and newcomers — will have a chance to meet offline and in person at the second annual Pittsburgh Yelper Party, aka Yelp Geeks Out.
The event will be held at TechShop at Bakery Square in East Liberty, Pittsburgh, from 8-10 p.m. Sept. 5.
TechShop is a kind of laboratory and playground for people who want to make things. It provides equipment and instruction in a range of skills, including rapid prototyping, metalworking, machining, laser cutting and woodworking.
Guests will be able to play with some of these cool toys and learn new skills, including screen printing T-shirts and posters with the help of Commonwealth Press, and glass-etching with staff from the Pittsburgh Glass Center. TechShop staff will offer some workshops, including making metal flowers.
“As soon as I walked in for a tour, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I have to have this party here,’ ” said Yelp Pittsburgh community manager Rachel Carlson, who is organizing the event.
“When you have a site and you have this online community, it’s really important to make an offline community,” she said. It also gives users a chance to connect with the area’s businesses. “With Yelp, it’s all about getting out there and discovering great local businesses. The party brings these businesses to you in one central location.”
The over-21 event features food from local restaurants, along with samples of regional craft beers, whiskey, vodka, wine and nonalcoholic drinks.
It’s open to members and nonmembers: Those who aren’t Yelp members will have to create a Yelp account. Guests need to send an RSVP — quickly — because only a few spots remain.
It’s free, but participants are asked to contribute a suggested donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.
Last year’s inaugural Yelp meet-up at the August Wilson Center drew about 200 people.
Yelp also hosts regular events throughout the year for its super users, known as Elites.
Elite commenters contribute to the site, not in terms of frequency and quantity, but rather quality and insight.
“An elite user is someone who writes useful reviews. It has to be pertinent information,” Ms. Carlson said.
A commenter has to apply for Elite status, using his/her real name and photo, and must be over 21. Elite members are invited to monthly Yelp-sponsored events.
There are other kinds of Yelp status rankings, too. Members can become Regulars by checking in frequently with specific businesses. From there they can move to Duke or Duchess — the top Regular; then Baron or Baroness — the one with the most dukedoms in their neighborhood; and finally, King or Queen — the person with the most Dukedoms in a given city.
Adrian McCoy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865. ___
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Photo Credit: In this Oct. 26, 2011 file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's new Manhattan offices in New York. Kathy Willens / Associated Press
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