• Therese Detje
4. semester, Turisme, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Hiring the services of an Instagram influencer is a new marketing initiative adopted by many brands across different industries. Influencers, or, “people who build a large network of followers and are regarded as trusted tastemakers in one or several niches” are sought after by marketers to promote their brand to the influencer’s established audiences (De Veirman, Cauberghe & Hudders, 2016, p. 1; Berger & Milkman, 2012). The photo-sharing social media application Instagram is the preferred outlet for many influencers. This research paper looks into the practices of Instagram influencers who work in tourism. These individuals are identified as the masters of touristic Instagramming. The objective of this study is to identify and understand the configuration of materials and activities involved in their practice of touristic Instagramming as travel influencers. In doing so, the research departs from existing literature that tends to talk strategically, commercially, and motivationally about the role of social media in tourism. As a practice study, this research approaches the research topic in a novel way. Although it is a non-representational study, representations of tourism created by Instagram influencers are still an important element of the discussion. The research investigates images and representations, but additionally emphasises how these images and representations are made. Insights into the practices of influencers are gained through qualitative methods including netnography, interviews, and participant observation. The participant observation was conducted during a week-long influencer trip with Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath). The rich understandings of the practice gained present new, unique accounts of touristic Instagramming. Although the practices of influencers are more refined, strategic, and comprehensive than amateur Instagrammers, the insights still provide fascinating empirical material about touristic Instagramming more generally. This material is discussed in relation to existing theories on the tourist gaze, performativity, and identity management. The empirical data demonstrates how situated performances often contradicts the represented world of tourism. Instagramming is deceitful in that people select, edit and share images to create idealised versions of reality. Influencers solidify these existing idealised tourist images by implicitly exercising power in creating standards of how tourism photography should look. Their commercial and self-interested motivations to become professional influencers bring further friction to the bias towards posting these images. Influencers have the power to share content to a large audience, yet most conform to the standard typology of images that are guaranteed to get more likes and attract new Instagram followers. The followers legitimise and assign power to influencers, and in doing so simultaneously control them. The motivations and ideals of influencers then also reflect those of tourists. Tourists are increasingly concerned with impression management and promoting an ideal identity through the holiday photographs they post online (Berger & Milkman, 2012; Lo et al., 2011). In doing so, classic representations of tourism are reinforced. The tourist gaze suggests that tourists seek the extraordinary in their tourism experience, yet a new, self-directed tourist gaze suggests that tourists are travelling differently to take photos that convey an idealised image of themselves (Dinhopl & Gretzel, 2016).
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2017
Antal sider75
ID: 258726157