Role Of Social Media In Tourism

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2.2 Social Media – definitions and role in tourism

Web 2.0 applications are also knows as Social Media. Social media are concerned as mass collaboration tools which enrich the role of the internet users since they allow them to actively participate and collaborate in real time for the production, consumption and distribution of the information and the knowledge (content) of the internet. Social media technologies include blogs, τα social networks, podcasts, mash-ups, etc. Social media have some characteristics in common, such as :

➢ Participation. Social media are built on the concept of participation encouraging people to contribute and provide feedback.
➢ Openness. Social media are open to everyone – there are no barriers to entry and participate.
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The tourism industry is significantly affected by these changes. Since information and its distribution constitute the lifeblood of the tourism industry, the use and the dissemination of social media technologies have a noticeable effect on both the demand and the supply side of tourism products and services. Below are presented the most important social media applications, as well as their impact on the tourism industry.

2.2.1 RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

RSS feeds, also known as “web feed” or “news feed” is a technology that allows people to subscribe to their favorite websites and then get information from these sites via an RSS reader. This subscription is dynamic, not periodic, with new information delivered to the subscriber every time there’s an update on the subscribed websites. Users do not have any more to visit each one of the websites they are interested for. They rather visit their RSS reader and have all the information gathered there. That is why RSS technology has been referred as “the glue that holds the web together” .

RSS technology affects tourism in several ways :

• Helps travelers to save time when searching information
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2.2.3 Social Networks

Social networks are “spaces on the internet where users can create a profile and connect that profile to others to create a personal network. Social network users post content to their profiles and use tools embedded within social networking websites to contact other users” .

Social networks can based on common interests and in this manner they are defined as “spaces on the Internet that allow a group of friends, peers or like-minded individuals to communicate, chat and share information on topics of interest. These may be in the form of pure ‘socializing’ sites or alternatively sites related to special interest topics (e.g. travel) ”. In this case social networks are also known as virtual communities which “allow people who interact to satisfy their own needs and to share purpose such as an interest, need, information exchange, or service that provides a reason for the community ”.

Social network sites affect both tourism demand and supply and create new e-business models for distributing and producing tourism products and services. Tourists nowadays share their tourism experiences via

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