The New Consumer Online

The New Consumer Online

A Sociology of Taste, Audience, and Publics

Edward F. McQuarrie

It’s a new world online, where consumers can publish their writing and gain a public presence, even a mass audience. This book links together blogging, writing reviews for Yelp, and creating pinboards for Pinterest, all of which provide ordinary people the opportunity to display their tastes to strangers. Edward McQuarrie expertly analyzes how the operation of taste in consumption has been changed by the Internet and offers a fresh perspective on why websites like Yelp and Pinterest have become so successful.

Chapter 2: Essay Two: Yelp and the soapbox imperative

Edward F. McQuarrie

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, marketing, innovation and technology, knowledge management


Online reviews are evaluative texts, written by ordinary consumers about goods that can be bought, and aggregated and organized by a Web hosting site. What is new online emerges by contrasting what came before: offline reviews, not written by ordinary people, in print. Book reviews, even dedicated newspaper sections like the New York Times Book Review, date back to the 19th century, as do newspaper restaurant reviews. Newspapers had reviewed music, movies, and popular culture for perhaps a century before the Internet. Consumer Reports flourished more recently, a creature of Late Capitalist, post-World War II affluence in the USA, but still predates the Internet by decades. In short, reviewing predates the Internet. It’s the explosion of amateur reviews, posted to the Web by ordinary consumers, that is new.

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