In yesterday's paper, lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution John Kessler took aim at "The Perils of Online Ranting." Specifically, he called out Bonersgate and the unfortunate displays of humanity by both the business and the customer. But it was his comments on Foodie Buddha's "review" of Cardamom Hill that really got the conversation started. Kessler questioned why FB's Ted Golden regularly ignores the "unwritten code of behavior" by critically reviewing a new restaurant in its first days of opening instead of taking a "first look" approach. He notes that the larger issue at hand in this behavior is "it says something about the relationship between restaurants and their customers in the age of social media."
About blogs like Foodie Buddha's and sites such as Yelp and Urbanspoon, Kessler acknowledges that:
"There is some legitimacy here. I like reading some anonymous commenters and some bloggers if their methodology and tone suggests they have given the restaurant a fair shake and they know what they’re talking about."But his final thoughts err on the side of civility:
"I'm left with the feeling that all this lashing out is often just a temper tantrum. That, or it is directed as much at the writer's cronies as it is at the servers or customers in question. The art of give and take between business and consumer seems to be on the outs."For his part, Foodie Buddha declined Kessler's inquiry about the reasoning behind his reviews, saying, "I have a response to that question, but there's no quick simple response as to why I do what I do.” Then, as if on cue, he lashed out online via Twitter.
What do you think, Eater readers? How much of a shake is a fair one when it comes to making your restaurant opinions known on the internet? Go ahead, let it out in the comments.
· The Perils of Online Ranting [AJC]