A few pages are up already: an entry page for and introduction to my Yelp reviews and companion blog on Typepad, a mirror to that blog at Posterous, a local ring return page, an introduction to the idea of a global ring return page and "better than total webring navigability and the beginnings of the Chicago Parks and Gardens page. That last one is a good fit, as I do live in Chicago and most of my Yelp reviews are about places in Chicago. Some of those reviews will be of the various parks and gardens, and there's the natural tie in: talk about the places in the reviews and then link to photo galleries showing the places being talked about.
Yelp is an all text environment, and so what one loses in the process of confining one's reviews to Yelp is the visual impact of being in some of these places, and sometimes that visual impact matters. I can say that a place has a "charming ambience", but my idea of what is charming and what is yours might be completely different. Let me share a few images, and a little of the mystery on this point disappears. Hence the natural relationship between this site and my Yelp profile and reviews: the site provides a place in which the reviews can transcend the limitations of an all text format, while the reviews, being on a social networking site, ties the site to the outside world, perhaps increasing the likelihood that it will be read.
Photography is not the only contribution this site will make to my Yelp presence. Along with some associated lenses on Squidoo, this site will allow me to expand on subjects that come up in the course of writing a review. Let us say, for example, that I finally visit the Water Tower - a very touristy place I've never been, in all of the years I've lived here - and I decide to write about the history of the little place. Sticking that onto a collective review page and making everybody climb over that to get to the next review might be a little obnoxious, so I take that tangent offsite, to Squidoo or to this site, here, producing a new page, or maybe a cluster of pages.
Question: privet.html? da_sveedaneeya.html? You speak Russian now, Joseph?
No, not at all. I wish I did. No, this is a little gentle, friendly teasing directed toward my previous hosting service, which, while it won't tell you where it is operating from, left a few cyrillic characters visible when one logs in. An oversight from a Russian based company that was afraid that Western users would not be favorably inclined toward it if they knew that it was based out of, say, Novgorod instead of Boise? Maybe. I don't know, but if so, in part see this as being my way of saying "guys, we've already guessed where you are, and it's cool. George Bush might sort of be your enemy, in a way, but I'm not your enemy at all" - and I think most users will feel much the same way. I can certainly understand our system operator not wanting to give the whole world directions to his or her front door - that's just prudence - but I am curious, and hope that the members of the staff will, someday, feel comfortable telling us what city they're in, and maybe even share a few photos of home with us.
Or, if they actually should happen to be in Boise, will be willing to tell us what the story was with that shift into a completely different alphabet.