When I was a newcomer to Pittsburgh, I made many wonderful connections online. The majority of my friendships started on Twitter, and others I met through Yelp. I highly recommend if you’re relocating to start following and conversing online with people from your new city before your move.

Nearly every metropolitan area has a Yelp page specific to its city, with a great Talk board to get suggestions from the locals. I was already using my (former) blog to write about new places and experiences, so transitioning those reviews to Yelp was nothing different than what I was already doing. I love telling visitors about my favorite places — and giving my opinions and advice on being a newcomer in the city gave me a unique voice to others who have been here their whole life. The best part of being a Yelper though are the parties; being an Elite has some special perks.

We have an amazing Community Manager, Rachel, who connects us with local businesses and other users… and she hosts some super-fun parties. Plus, we were able to work together last year on a sponsorship-slash-event with my derby league — Yelp loves roller derby, and that only enhances my love of the site. There have been events at the Toonseum and Penn Brewery, happy hours, nights out on the Gateway Clipper, free tickets to live performances (I saw both ballet and Electra last year) and cool swag (I seriously have a Yelp chapstick in every coat pocket). Last month, the boyfriend and I joined fellow Yelpers for a performance of “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up” (which paired well with complimentary beverages and cheese plates), and this week we went to the new Arcade Comedy Theater downtown to watch their cast do a rendition of Yelp’s Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews event (sooo funny).

I like being in the know. And being a Yelper was sincerely helpful for this 30-something to find her way — and find some new friends — in a new city.

Do you Yelp? I’m Mel U. — let’s connect! Have you made friends IRL that you originally met online?

And as they say, SYOY!

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