The chapter proposes a method to analyze social media content, which goes beyond the usual categorization of content according to topics covered and sentiment expressed, to account for the many other elements constituting a communicative event and thus influencing the meaning and interpretation of such content. The proposed method derives from a communication perspective on media content, which is based on the linguistic notion of speech act. Starting from the idea that “to speak is to do”, it is posited that mediated communication artifacts shall be analyzed considering the intentions of the producers – what s/he wants to do with his/her speech act –, the characteristics of the medium and the context where it is produced. This allows to distinguish media content into different unique textual genres, and thus to design appropriate analytical methodologies. The case of destination Online Travel Reviews (OTR) is taken, to show how a speech-act driven content analysis can be designed and to discuss its implications at the practical level. OTR are an emergent textual genre, characterized by an argumentative structure that means they are recommendations relying upon opinions that are justified with arguments. To analytically account for their content, it needs first to consider the speech act of ‘arguing’.
Advances in Social Media for Travel, Tourism and Hospitality
New Directions in Tourism Analysis
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Marianna Sigala & Ulrike Gretzel
Online Travel Review, speech act, tourism, textual genre, social media