my newest online obsession is yelp.com which i have been a member of for less than a month. today i hit 56 reviews which tells you how much time i have been spending there. i've reviewed restaurants, bars, yoga studios, grocery stores, and the new 24 hour fitness in midtown. anything with a physical address is fair game. you just have to bring your opinion.
as most of you guys know, i am pretty active on the e-gullet and chowhound sites in discussions of dining in houston. i would describe yelp as a cross between facebook (a social networking site) and b4-u-eat (for posting restaurant reviews). what yelp has that the others lack is a way to connect all your reviews to your profile and interact with other yelpers by complimenting or marking their reviews and sending private messages. your reviews have an audience and it is proved very quickly from all the markings. if you find a reviewer that you respect, you can add them as a favorite and read everything else that they have posted their opinions about. i also like the ability to build lists.
the yelp community in houston seems to be just getting their feet off the ground with about 5000 users currently, while the SF, LA, Chicago, Austin, and NY communities are already large and thriving. yelp plans group activities for its members so people can connect in real life in addition to interaction online.
anyway, i wanted to give yelp a shout-out b/c it really is a great resource for those just moving to houston or those that want to get to know what's going on in their city better.