In the digital age, online photography has been reshaping the travel experiences. Particularly, the selfie phenomenon, considered as the self-portrait photography, gained a predominant role in the tourism photography and on social media platforms.
Nowadays, photographs are not only cheaper, but are also instant and easy to share within few clicks; therefore, it is clear that this phenomenon is exploded into a trend called the ‘culture of selfies’.
A popular way for an individual to document her activities for social updates is to share the pictures. Eating a meal in a restaurant became less important than having to take a picture of that meal and let people know what we are eating, where we are eating and probably, with whom we are eating. Photographs are basically evidences for an experience. Yet, they are not about memorabilia anymore, but rather a confirmation, saying that it is exactly us who went through that experience, stressing the “been there, done that” mantra. Same goes when people travel and take selfies with tourist attractions that are usually representative of a destination.
A lot of academics discuss travel selfies as ways of self-representation and impression management. Nonetheless, very few out there put a focus on selfies with tourist attractions and more importantly, what other motives, besides the pure self-interest, could be behind those selfies. This study aims to put these two contexts – selfies and tourist attractions- together to delve into the existing literature gap.
Using a quantitative approach through a use of a survey, two main results can be signified. First, tourists take and post selfies because their essential desire is to establish a personal image and to gain self-esteem. In particular, selfies, which were taken at tourist attractions enhance the public image of the selfie-takers.
Second, it is a concern from destinations’ perspective. Namely, tourists do not intentionally promote a destination, but rather happen to do it while sharing their travel selfies on social networking platforms, which signals destinations to proactively co-create with tourists to boost their image in an authentic and creative way!
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