Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Digitravel - Digitourists and Digitravellers

The web is essentially a place, a virtual space that people travel through and around. In the real world space, the ‘traditional retail space,’ it has long been argued that there are two types of consumers:

“…there are two broad categories of customer to be accounted for here: the type seeking inspiration and willing to spend time on the process of discovery and the type who just want to find what they need and get out. The way in which you must communicate to these audiences is very different even though it is sometimes the same consumer on a different shopping mission or day.”

Successful Retail Brands Engage their Customers In-store; Craig Thatcher, The Marketing Managers Yearbook 2006

I recently wrote an article that posits the same notion about online space – that there are essentially two different types of digital consumer journeying through cyberspace; the digitourist and the digitraveller.

The premise for the article is that the dominant metaphor for the Internet is that of space; it is a vast media landscape, a place of virtual worlds that we explore or navigate around – and as in the 'real' world there are tourists and travellers.

Digitourists, like any tourists, know exactly what they want to see and what they want to find - whether it be a product or a piece of information. Digitravellers however are different to Digitourists - no less or no more technologically able in many cases, they want however to explore things for themselves. They want to navigate their own way around the wilderness of information and stories of the internet, roughing it unguided through the digital landscape. Their interest lies not so much in arriving at a piece of information or a particular site, as the Digitourist’s does, but instead on the journey itself. For the Digitraveller it is all about the people they meet and the unexpected, undiscovered places they stumble across along the way. “A good traveller,” Lao Tzu once wrote “has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” And so it is for the Digitraveller. The article goes on to demonstrate how seven behavioural parallels can be drawn between the internet culture of web 2.0 and traditional travelling cultures.

Faris very kindly hosted it for me over at TIGS.

No comments: