With the development of
information technology, online social network plays an important role in modern
society. The growing acceptance and popularity of social media have changed
human lives in many ways. These impacts can also be reflected on the tourism
area. In recent years, social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Weibo, has
been widely used among tourists. The use of social media by tourists mainly
includes two aspects: experience sharing and information searching. First of
all, the social media is an outlet for sharing travel information and
experience with others, and then is a tool for exploring and planning a travel.
Growing numbers of travelers share their travel experience on the social media through
text, picture, and videos to provide information and interact with other users.
They also use social media searching travel related information created by other
travelers for their travel planning and decision making. Social media has
brought many benefits to the tourism industry and provided convenience for
tourists. However, the use of social media can lead to some risks. Information
sharing by tourists can result in loss of privacy and information security
problems. Moreover, the information posted on social media is not always
reliable, as a result, the users sometimes need to put more effort to judge and
choose useful contents.
Social media have changed the way of information
dissemination and realized the personalization of delivering contents. It
enables tourists to share personal experience and information on the platform
and interact with other travelers, tourism enterprises and destination managers
instantly. Sharing travel experience is one of the main applications of
tourists using social media. The behavior of tourists sharing their travel related
information or experience on the social media mainly occurs during and after
their travel. During the travel, tourists not only using social media to search
travel related information, but also begin to share their travel experiences (Amaro, Duarte and Henriques, 2016). During this phase, real-time sharing of texts, photos
or videos on social networks is one of the most popular activities. Travelers
will also begin to write experiences or produce comments using social media. After the travel, tourists use social media to
post contents by writing comments, reviews or uploading images and videos.
Research by Fotis, Buhalis and Rossides (2012) indicates travelers
using social media platform to share experience with friends and other followers
predominantly take place after the travel.
share their travel experiences based on different motivations and reasons. According to Munar
and Jacobsen (2014, p.48), the motivations
for sharing tourist experience on the social media can be identified as “self-centered” motivation and “community-related”
motivation. Self-centered motivation is based on the personal level, the
individuals obtaining benefits or achieving psychological satisfaction from
their own behavior. The result of Yilmaz (2016)’s research
demonstrates motivations behind sharing travel experience includes gaining
respect and recognition from friends, presenting
success to attract attention, making the
experiences more memorable and considering experience is important. These factors
can be seen as self-centered motivations.
the other hand, Munar
and Jacobsen?2014?report community-related
motivations reflect tourists’ expectations about potential impacts of shared online
contents on virtual communities or other social media users. Individuals
participate in online groups by sharing experience can improve interaction with
community members and increase sense of belonging to the community. Moreover, Travel
review writers are additionally motivated by helping other travelers (Gretzel
& Yoo, 2008). They create
user-generated contents online because they hope to help other tourists to minimize
risk in their travel decision-making (Munar and Jacobsen, 2014). A possible reason
for this kind of altruistic action is that supporting others makes some people
feel being needed (Baym, 2010).
Although the behavior of sharing
experiences on social media has become a common phenomenon in the modern society,
it can also pose a big threat. Research by (Schaik, Jansen, Onibokun, Camp,
Kusev(2017) indicate information-sharing by social-network users can result in
violation of privacy. For example, a user whose contact details and Identity
information have been revealed may become the subject of internet fraud or
become a potential victim of identity theft. Sharing experiences on social
media may reveal a great deal of personal information, such as location, flight
schedule and so on. Privacy and security are major issues in social media. First,
it has been noted that security and privacy design of social media is weak
(Acquisti & Gross, 2006), thereby creating security and privacy
vulnerabilities. Second, information-sharing is the main purpose of social
media, in other words, the use of social media is an application of personal
information. therefore, users’ behavior
and underlying risk perceptions becomes even more important to protect against
security- and privacy violations((Schaik, Jansen, Onibokun, Camp, Kusev, 2017).
III. Travel information
(1)it can include many different physical sources of
information, such as mass media, word-of-mouth communication and expert reports
and opinions (Kim, Lehto, & Morrison, 2007) and it can provide timely and
accurate information relevant to travellers. This information can be provided
not only by pictures but also by videos and sounds, with the advantage of being
more inexpensive than traditional means (Buhalis, 1998). The Internet provides
nearly limitless amounts of information with relatively minimal expenditures of
effort or money (Kim et al., 2007).
Next, what I’m going to talk about is another use of
social media, information searching. Nowadays, Social Media has become the most
powerful force driving travel planning and decision making, playing a important
role in travelers’ overall travel experience(Amaro, Duarte, Henriques, 2016).
reasons of using social media
Before starting the travel, travelers need to find
information to make decisions and planning, such as which destination, airline
or accommodation to choose. Travel can be regarded as a special product or
service. However, compared to other services or products, travel normally
requires more information processing before making a decision, because the
purchase of travel products is considered to be highly risky (Huang, Chou,
& Lin, 2010). The following characteristics of tourism determine that
travel is a high-risk product. When someone decide to consume tourism products,
individuals must leave their daily environment and move to a geographically and
culturally different place (Werthner & Ricci, 2004). Moreover, consumers
cannot try travel products or services before purchasing, making it difficult to
evaluate the value before the actual experience
(Kim, Qu, & Kim, 2009). Furthermore, when making travel decisions, We can’t
see or touch actual product, only images or descriptions are available. Therefor?the potential tourists will search for as much useful
information as possible, minimizing the risks. will search for as much useful
information as possible, minimizing risks.
?1?Travelers using social media to search related information,
the most important factor is the functional benefits of social media(Parra-López et al., 2012). The main functions of Social media are information
sharing and communication.
(3) In tourism, travelers pursue information reliability through
an intensive information search (Hwang and Fesenmaier, 2011).
Immediate access to various sources of information in
social media can be achieved reliably from travelers’ words-of-mouth, expertise
of peers, or shared resources from tourism agents and suppliers(Namho Chung, Chulmo Koo, 2014). The informational reliability of social
media is reflected on the accuracy, timeliness, and completeness. Quick and
information reliability enables a traveler to evaluate a travel, and learn
about specific and new experiences related to a trip, such as investigating different
tourist styles, trying new foods, and meeting new people. Travelers usually seek
out reliable and credible information provided by others through social
interaction rather than by gaining the information through travel websites (Sigala
et al., 2012).
(1)Chung and Buhalis (2008b) found
that users of social media participated in the online community activities not only
for the informational benefits, but also for the enjoyment.
Social media enable travelers to keep in contact with
others who share the same interests regarding vacation which make information
searching more active, interactive and interesting. Travelers engage in online social relationships,
enjoy materials posted by other people. (1)a significant number of studies have shown that reading
travel reviews added fun to the trip planning process, made travel planning more
enjoyable and made travellers feel more excited about traveling (Gretzel &
Yoo, 2008; Gretzel, Yoo, & Purifoy, 2007; Parra-López et al., 2012).
negative factors of using social media on information
There are some negative factors influence travelers
using social media to search information, mainly reflecting on information
complexity and required effort.
(3)With the increasing number of social media
users, there are great deal of information on the internet. More information
means more complexity. For example, Because the travel experience is more
dependent on individual subjective feelings, judgments about the same tourists
attractions or travel services may completely different. (BOOK)Thus, interestingly, social media use expands information
search and It leads to more time spent planning.
(book) according to Yoo and Gretzel travelers’ personal characteristics are important
factors to be taken into account when trying to understand engagement with
social media. travelers are less willing to make actual use under conditions of
high complexity in the social media usage context. Complexity has a negative
effect on the travel information searches in social media usage. (Namho Chung, Chulmo Koo, 2014)
(2)therefor, more Personal
effort and time are needed to find trip-related information on the social media(
Eduardo Parra-López, Jacques Bulchand-Gidumal, Desiderio Gutiérrez-Tano, Ricardo Díaz-Armas, 2010)
(3)perceived ease of use is similar to
decision-making effort; if an application is too difficult to use, any
advantages of using the application is outweighed by the effort of using it (Namho Chung, Chulmo Koo?2014).
In the contemporary social media context, travel
information searches demand variety of costs, including time costs, search
costs, effort costs, and convenience costs, reflecting complexity and effort.
Accounting mental accounting theory, greater convenience (i.e.,inversely
effort) means less mental land physical energy expended in obtaining a product
(Gupta and Kim, 2010), which reduces the time and effort, thereby increasing
transaction utility. Perceived effort has negatively influences a traveler to
travel information searches.