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Theorizing Web 2.0 Phenomena in Tourism: A Sociological Signpost

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The term Web 2.0 is currently on everyone's lips; even the tourism industry is awash with decision makers who are frantically searching for standardized, practicable guidelines on how not to sleep through yet again what has been touted as the new era of the Internet Version 2.0—especially now that we are finally getting a handle on Version 1.0. As to be expected, the checklists and manuals we have long searched for that offer us instruction on how to encounter this phenomenon are for the most part lacking. This is not surprising when you consider confronting the challenges of an extraordinarily vague formulation. In workshops, symposiums, and congresses, people throw catchwords and technical terms about in an effort to describe what Web 2.0 stands for and determine its apparent meaning for tourism. Profound issues and attempts at explanations are rare indeed, and empirically verified statements are almost wholly lacking. Therefore, the aim of this article is to deliver a selection of sociological explanatory approaches, thereby creating the theoretical starting blocks for further research efforts. Consequently, the objective here cannot be to explain the theories in their entirety and discuss in detail their individual contributions to the various Web 2.0 phenomena. Instead, the goal is to bring to light starting points for a theoretically founded debate on the subject. The overview in the form of a table at the end of the contribution describes selected sociological approaches and puts them into the context of Web 2.0 and tourism by way of examples.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-04-01

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  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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