Technological innovations provide huge opportunities to expand and revolutionize the scope of products and services offered. This is particularly true for tourism, which is undergoing significant changes due to the development of new technologies. The level of technology diffusion depends on several factors like the exchange of information among peers, and the attitude and shared perception among the contributors. The aim of the study is to explore the diffusion of technology in tourism with a specific focus on the social media discourse around new technologies. Thus, the paper investigates the level of interest in these new technologies analysing the information exchange occurring between individuals on Twitter in order to explore the influence of reciprocal networking.
To capture the attitudes expressed in the industry, the study analyses the ongoing discourse on Twitter as a proxy for the participants “interest in new technologies. Through a social network analysis of the tweets and retweets conducted over a period of nine months, the research maps the level of information exchange about the diffusion of new technologies. Moreover, the sentiment analysis provides an interesting overview of the individuals” attitudes towards the awareness or the adoption of new technologies.
Our analysis has provided several insights: (1) the information network on blockchain in tourism consists of participants who change very quickly over time (high turnover of accounts); (2) some contributors have an extremely important role in influencing the flow of information in the system (information centralization), they can have a generalist (discussing several topics) or a specialist (focusing on a specific topic) behaviour and this strategic choice influences their network's structure; (3) these central nodes also have an impact on the definition of positive and negative sentiment towards a topic (sentiment influencer).
The paper contributes to the literature on technology diffusion, by focusing on one of the preconditions of diffusion that is the shared positive attitude towards technological innovation. More specifically, we adopt a network-based approach, which is useful to explain the level of information exchange and the public discourse that can impact the shared perception and attitude towards technological innovation. The study also highlights the role of knowledge brokers in influencing this public discourse. Future studies can deepen the association between positive perception, higher levels of information exchange and increasing usage of specific technologies. Our results also suggest further exploring the opportunity to combine social media data and other sources of information to shed more light on the technological innovation diffusion processes.
This paper shows how practitioners can benefit from the analysis of information exchange about new technologies in tourism adopting a network perspective with the aim of understanding the level of influence among contributors. Moreover, the increasing interest in blockchain technology and the potential combination between social media data and other sources of information can offer promising insights.
The present study explores the level of technology diffusion through the analysis of information exchange on social media (Twitter). Furthermore, the dynamics of individual user behaviour offers a better understanding about media effects.
While previous research is focused on the users' perception towards the development of new technologies in tourism, the aim of this study is to investigate the dynamics behind the level of diffusion of information and awareness about these new technologies, which still represents an unexplored area of research.
Bolici, F., Acciarini, C., Marchegiani, L. and Pirolo, L. (2020), "Innovation diffusion in tourism: how information about blockchain is exchanged and characterized on twitter", The TQM Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-01-2020-0016Download as .RIS
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