November 2016 archive

Are tripadvisor reviews useful or fair?

Tripadvisor is often the first place I search as a cross-referencing tool when I am booking a place to stay and indeed, online reviews are increasingly used by potential customers to make decisions on their consumer choices (Filieri, 2014, pra 1). While I understand there could be the issue of biased reviews and disgruntled customers leaving unfair feedback, I think they offer a representative and accurate reflection on the overall quality of service you are likely to receive. I think one of the reasons for this is that people tend to read a number of comments and not only one. Furthermore, the star rating gives a mean average and arguably fair result that can reset the balance if unfair reviews are written.

Caution needs to be exercised when there are only a small number of reviews for example for a business that has just been established. Indeed, research by Jeon & Rieh (2014, p. 663) into “Yahoo answers”, another crowdsourcing social tool, found that people found it hard to judge the credibility of answers and comments because of a lack of quality control over the responses and information about the author/trustworthiness of the source.

It is important to consider the issue of purposeful sabotage and the implications for new hotels/tourist services who do not have many reviews and could be potentially damaged by just a small number of negative comments and ratings. This is a real and serious issue faced by some businesses.

For me, Tripadvisor totally changed the way I looked for accommodation though readers need to interpret the reviews critically and take into account reviews from other sites such as Booking.com to come to a fair assessment. However, many users would not do this and may result in some businesses unfairly losing business.

References

Filieri, R. (2014). What makes online reviews helpful? A diagnosticity-adoption framework to explain informational and normative influences in e-wom. Journal of Business Research. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2014.11.006

Jeon, G. Y., & Rieh, S. Y. (2014). Answers from the crowd: How credible are strangers in social Q&A? iConference 2014 Proceedings (p. 663–668). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/106410

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the web which marked a shift from websites which were viewed by visitors to websites that facilitated interaction and user-generated content (Schwerdtfeger , 2013, March 17). The term was first coined by publisher Tim O’Reilly in 2004 (Hosch, 2009). It is a significant change because of the impact these sites now have in our daily lives, interactions and society as a whole.

In an earlier blog post I talked about that the idea of sharing information and ideas globally and instantly was the primary driving force behind Tim Berners-Lee’s pivotal development of the world wide web in 1989 (Riddle, 2014). The usability of Web 2.0 extended this initial concept to create a more dynamic and interactive platform which in part has been enabled by the rise and availability of computers and MED’s (mobile electronic devices) globally (Poushter, 2016).

O’Reilly (2009) expounds the different approaches of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 by comparing examples. Something that clearly distinguishes Web 2.0 is the central role of the user and in one example, he compares Britannica online and Wikipedia. Britannica is a published website written and proof read by professional and experts and belongs to Web1.0. Wikipedia on the other hand, is only functional because of user-generated content and is representative of Web 2.0. While there are great benefits to Wikipedia and the sharing of information in this way, the role of the user also raises issues in terms of reliability and the lack of quality control of information. Indeed, in my library we have bought a subscription to Britannica Online which students can access through our school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The subscription was costly but we felt was necessary. With the wealth of information on the web, the children need to be taught the skills to discern reliable information but they also need quick and easy access to reliable content from a trustworthy source.

In Web 2.0, end-users are increasingly contributing to metadata to retrieval systems. This can take the form of personally written reviews and ratings for books and online content belonging to other people as well as ‘tagging’ key words and topics by the creators and end-users on sites such as Youtube, Flicker, Instagram. Consequently, large collections of online and digital information is being created and organised by the online public (Hider, 2012, p.70). Again, concerns can arise regarding the consequences in this process of personal bias and interpretation as well as lack of expertise . Nevertheless, Hider states that while mass tagging may lack the efficacy of formal indexing, it is still useful (Hider, 2012, p.72). Moreover, tools exist that aid the person tagging (for example Youtube suggests a number of categories) which does help to produce some sort of standardization in a format that at first appearance seems uncontrollable.

References

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Hosch, W. (2009). Web 2.0. In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://global.britannica.com/topic/Web-20

Poushter, A. (2016, February, 22). Smartphone ownership and internet usage continues to climb in emerging economies. In Pew Research Centre. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies/

Riddle, K. ( 2014, August, 4). A reflection on Don Tapscott’s Ted talk. In Kate loves books. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kate/

Schwerdtfeger, P. [Patrick Schwerdtfeger]. (2013, March, 17). What is Web 2.0? What is social media? What comes next?. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=119&v=iStkxcK6_vY

INF 506 Assignment 1 OLJ first entry

Social networking encompasses a wide range of tools and platforms for interaction in a diverse and ever changing digital environment. It is increasingly interconnected so that information can be viewed and shared across platforms.

Social networking sites I currently use include Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and Youtube. I use these sites both personally and professionally. Educationally, I am interested in the transformative nature of social media; how content potentially changes as it is shared, discussed and interpreted.

I believe that social media plays such an integral role in society that we need to be aware of the potential of these sites for childrens’ learning. In the library I predominately use Twitter. It serves so many purposes including promoting and sharing what we are doing in the library and connecting with the children, wider community and the world!

It is important to bear in mind, that just as adults and children can be responsive to a variety of learning styles, the same can be said for social networking sites. For example visual learners might find Pinterest the most functional tool for gathering their thoughts and ideas whereas an auditory learner might respond better to information shared through the medium of video on Youtube.

Accessibility to different platforms provides opportunities for sharing, connecting and learning that may otherwise not occur. However, while exposure to these communication tools is important, I think it is vital to think logically and rationally about the purpose and intended outcomes for using a particular social networking site. In this subject I am looking forward to developing my understanding on how best to utilise these networks from an educational perspective to best meet the needs of the educational community.