Volume 2 Issue 3 June 2004 Applied Research Note 3

Sharing information and cultivating knowledge in virtual setting: Increasing social capital in virtual community of tourism

by Sunny Jeong (University of Illinois)

This research notes that the dramatic growth of digital connections carry social capital in a new way in terms of accumulating information and cultivating knowledge in virtual setting. Relational ties and information communication technology (ICT) jointly exploit benefits of social capital by incorporating both strong and weak ties and extend the capacity of social capital by activating dormant social ties which are not yet networked but possibly connected. Gilbut tourism virtual community is introduced as an example of enjoying maximized benefits of social capital mediated by ICTs. Strategies adopted in Gilbut network to help increase social capital are analyzed under the three dimensions of social capital (structural, cognitive and relational dimension). Perhaps in addition to questions about marketing, promotion and development in tourism, we need to ask about the formation of social capital, cooperation, and social connectedness as well. Doing so could reduce the isolation of tourism research in social science and at the same time contribute to practical action in tourism field enhancing the formation of public good.

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