30 Days of Local Praise Success!

This morning, I’m eating breakfast at Trattoria Centrale — and I’m not going to Instagram it. That feels kinda weird, because for the month of January, I’ve been making sharing about the businesses I visit a priority. I started Thirty Days of Local Praise on January 1, and since then I’ve been writing online reviews of local businesses and sharing about them on social media every day.


I loved a lot of things about the project: I liked having an excuse to eat at some of my favorite places, for one thing, and to try new ones. I’d encouraged other people to take the challenge with me, and it was great to watch their posts throughout the month. But the best part was being able to do something to benefit the local businesses I believe in.


I really encourage anyone who wants to be more intentional about exploring your community to do 30 Days of Local Praise for a month. You can do it any time (even in months that have 28 days, if you want — go crazy!), and the concept is simple: Just share a review or a positive social media message about a locally owned business that you like every day for thirty days (and go ahead and hashtag your posts #localpraise). You can do the reviews any way you want to (I posted all mine as Yelp reviews first, and then yesterday I copied all my reviews into Google+ to give them more impact). And you’re welcome to use the image above on your own social media if you want to announce the start to your project.


The point isn’t to follow one system for reviewing. Do whatever works for you because the purpose of 30 Days of Local Praise isn’t to follow a rigid system; it’s to get in the habit of reviewing independent businesses so we’re doing it more often throughout the year. Locally owned businesses tend to be impacted by online reviews more than big box stores are, and because unhappy people are more likely to review than satisfied customers are, sometimes those results can be unfairly skewed.


With that in mind, I’m still going to be posting reviews sometimes, and I’ll use the #localpraise hashtag every now and then, too. Because I want to recognize the locally owned shops and restaurants who do things well (and because I didn’t get around to every business that I liked during my first 30 days). And because I know encouraging other people to visit independent shops not only builds those businesses, but it puts money back into our communities in well.


And with that in mind, maybe I’ll Instagram today’s breakfast after all.


Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.

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