I often use Trip Advisor & post my own reviews. If I'm using the site & find it useful, I feel a bit obligated to note what reviews helped me plan a trip and contribute my experience. I worked for Marriott Corporate Finance during 2010. I was able to take advantage of the generous benefits of being a Marriott employee, but that meant (since I'm honest & scared of getting in trouble, which generally work well together) that I couldn't review any of the Marriott hotels. Obviously, not the biggest problem in the world, but I like giving kudos where kudos are due. To let a company know that a server/housekeeper/clerk/somebody exceeds expectations because I personally experienced that & they are a valuable asset.
Personal experience. My thought-out review that I discuss with others in my party. My honest opinion of the value of the experience. Whether I would return. My personal, you heard it from me, input.
So people know that my family likes to cruise, visit Walt Disney World & go to Europe. People ask us for advice often.
"Kirsty, has your family gone to Megalopolis?"
"It's HORRIBLE. Don't go."
"Oh, really, why? What happened to you?"
"I've never been there."
"Is crime high? Is it really expensive? Is it dirty? Is the food unsafe?"
"One person I spoke to 5 years ago said they don't have pickles."
"Really? That sounds sorta odd."
"Well, pickles are really important to him. How could he ever go to a place that doesn't have pickles?
"Um, ok. Did you talk to anyone else?"
"Another person said they heard you had to stand on a bus for a few minutes during rush hour."
"Hmm, I know someone else who went & they loved it."
"No, I've spoken to 2 people who hated it."
"But they haven't been there? Why don't you check it out for yourself?"
"No, why would I? Two people I met for a few minutes years ago said it was terrible. I thought I hated it anyway so I'm right."
Hopefully, you're seeing my point. Why would you rely on the expertise of someone who's never been there but listens to hearsay & takes it to heart?
MFS, a financial company, has the tagline - "There is no expertise without collaboration.SM"
I agree. But the collaborators have to have some background to bring to that conference table. Advisors also need to be willing to investigate both sides of the story & not keep blinders on to adhere to their predetermined opinion.
When you vote in the upcoming Columbia Association elections, whether for your village board or the overall council, ask if your candidate is willing to listen. Or have they made up their mind already? Do they have personal experiences or do they just listen to one constituency? Do they want to collaborate or do they want to demand change?
Do your homework - these elections matter in your daily life as you drive around Columbia. Make it count.