Electronic social media is increasingly relevant as tourism practises affecting destination development and branding. However, there is still a deficiency of empirical research on the motivational factors that lie behind the creation and sharing of online content by tourists. This study explores the motivation of tourists who contribute to social media sites. It examines the relationship between tourists’ use of information sources and their willingness to share online content on different types of social media (e.g. social networks, review sites, etc.), based on a summer season survey in the mature and well-known destination of Mallorca, Spain. Findings contribute to the understanding of tourists’ social media adoption in technologically advanced markets with high levels of ICT adoption and use, in relation to a mainstream holiday location that is generally well-known in Western Europe. Empirical evidence is presented of who, when, how and why create and share travel experiences on social media. The paper discusses motivation schemes for knowledge and experience-sharing and it critically analyses technological mediation through electronic word-of-mouth and involvement factors related to virtual dissemination of travel experiences. Results provide insights on different motivational factors such as personal benefits, community related benefits and social capital that influence the sharing of user generated content in tourism. Moreover, the paper discusses technology adoption, transformations of tourism socio-cultural practices, hedonic aspects and utilitarian values of new media. Finally, this study contributes to expanding the knowledge-base on technological mediation and emerging tourism cultures.
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Destination Branding & Marketing Conference IV, 2012