Yelp is a weird social media platform. It's not a broadcasting tool like Facebook or Twitter, but it's no longer a straight reviews site, either. In the past few years, it's become a common venue for quasi-political protest — and as of earlier this week, it can be a venue for actual political protest, as the federal government can now respond to reviews of its monuments, TSA checkpoints, and other public services.
The intended purpose of this, of course, is to let people rate employee behavior and practical things like cleanliness. But Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina jumped on it almost immediately, posting a one-star TSA review that doubled as a campaign pitch. Other candidates don't seem to have followed suit yet, but it may only be a matter of time.
It's hard to be apolitical about elected officials and wars
There's nowhere better to complain about government than Washington, DC, whose Yelp page currently lists around 1,300 entries under the overall "Public Services and Government" category. The vast majority of visible reviews are about as helpful as the average restaurant or store rating — frequently more so, given how many history buffs and political wonks DC tourism attracts. And the listings aren't all for federal (or even American, since embassies are quite popular) government locations. But it's easy for political grandstanding to start slipping in, given how many of the most popular spots are dedicated to elected officials and wars.
A reasonable number of monument visitors are just excited about America.
Others aren't able to resist a quick political jab at the Lincoln Memorial:
Or they're not so keen on the premise of the Jefferson Memorial itself.
Then you hit the Capitol, where people start remembering that they actually hate politicians.
Or the White House, where you should probably be ashamed for voting for whoever is living in it, or maybe voting, period.
Or the Supreme Court, whose page is a great little snapshot of whatever major case was going on at the time of the review. (The second one was hidden and doesn't factor into star ratings, something that also happened to Fiorina's review.)
Fiorina's TSA page isn't a Washington-based listing, but her non-recommended review still isn't the best one by a long shot. I have no idea what is going on here, but I like it.
So what does Yelp like? Well, here's its top 100 listings for the District of Columbia, collected this morning. I'm pretty sure the exact ratings are arbitrary, but the Fort Totten Trash Transfer Station does seem like an underrated gem.