If you’ve read E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View, you may remember how despondent Lucy Honeychurch was upon entering a church without her trusty Baedeker (a guidebook), because without it, she could not “tell […] which, of all the sepulchral slabs that paved the nave and transepts, was the one that was really beautiful.”
As Nicholas T. Parsons explains in Worth the Detour: A History of the Guidebook, Forster’s “irony is directed at [the guidebooks] misuse as a surrogate for thought and a dampener of spontaneity.”
Lucy loosened up quite a bit over the course of the story, but the question remains: Should we travel with a guidebook, real or virtual , or just wander around, letting our eyes and chance guide us?
This blog post is an assignment for a Social Media and Analytics class I’m taking (“write about an influencer in your industry”). Feel free to skip it, unless you do want to learn a little bit about the history of TripAdvisor, which is interesting, actually.
I feel like Dudley Dursley telling Mr. Mason, “We had to write an essay about our hero at school, Mr. Mason, and I wrote about you.” when I say I can’t imagine traveling without TripAdvisor, but it’s true – we consult TripAdvisor every time we are planning a trip.
I remember stumbling upon the TripAdvisor site years ago, when it was still in its infancy. There wasn’t much to it, and I think it was even before they had text ads.