Taking and sharing photographs of restaurant food via social media and the blurring of online-offline consumer leisure experiences

MERSON, Jennifer and PALMER, Nicola (2016). Taking and sharing photographs of restaurant food via social media and the blurring of online-offline consumer leisure experiences. In: Locating Leisure: Blurring Boundaries, Liverpool John Moores University, 5th-7th July, 2016. (Unpublished)

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This paper explores consumer motivations for the taking and sharing of photographs of restaurant food online. In particular, it examines consumer-generated images of food across social media sites as part of a wider trend towards the sharing of experiences (and photographs) online. Sharing behaviour has been linked to levels of online community participation, engagement and commitment (Nov and Ye, 2008) and the expression of creative ability in terms of photograph composition and skill (Cook et al, 2009; Xu and Bailey, 2010). Offline, motivations for taking and sharing photographs with others have received academic research interest in a number of contexts (for example: mobile phone users-Chua et al, 2009; tourist photographs-Belk and Joyce, 2011; photographing natural disasters-Owen, 2013). Of particular interest to this study has been research into the social use of image-sharing as a means of creating and maintaining social relationships and self-presentation (Van House et al, 2005; Marcus, 2015; Sheldon and Bryant, 2016) in line with the idea of socially-constructed realities. The paper is based on the results of an online, semi-structured questionnaire survey completed by 67 international respondents of mixed genders and age groups (in line with standard research ethics procedures). Responses were analysed via descriptive statistics and a thematic review. The anonymised results provide initial insights into the extent to which photographs of restaurant food posted on social media were perceived to: reflect people's lifestyles; act as tools to maintain social relationships and facilitate the sharing of personal experiences; and contribute to the presentation of 'self' (Goffman, 1978). Overall, the findings draw attention to ways in which the taking and sharing of photographs of restaurant food online represent or distort offline leisure experiences. A number of questions are raised by the findings, not least whether participation in social media itself as a leisure activity supersedes, or at least impacts on, the 'lived experience' (Denzin, 1985) of other offline leisure activities (such as 'eating out'). In the words of one of the respondents in this study, 'the longer you spend time taking photos, the more likely the food will be cold'. Bibliography • Belk, R., & Hsiu-yen Yeh, J. (2011). Tourist photographs: signs of self. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5(4), 345-353. • Chua, A. Y., Lee, C. S., Goh, D. H. L., & Ang, R. P. (2009, November). Motivations for media sharing among mobile phone users. In Digital Information Management, 2009. ICDIM 2009. Fourth International Conference on (pp. 1-6). IEEE. • Cook, E., Teasley, S. D., & Ackerman, M. S. (2009, May). Contribution, commercialization & audience: understanding participation in an online creative community. In Proceedings of the ACM 2009 international conference on Supporting group work (pp. 41-50). ACM. • Denzin, N. K. (1985). Emotion as Lived Experience. Symbolic Interaction, 8(2), 223-240. • Goffman, E. (1978). The presentation of self in everyday life (p. 56). Harmondsworth. • Marcus, S.R. (2015) Picturing ourselves into being: assessing identity, sociality and visuality on Instagram. Presented at the International Communication Association conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico. • Nov, O., & Ye, C. (2008). Community photo sharing: Motivational and structural antecedents. ICIS 2008 Proceedings, 91. • Owen, D. M. (2013). Citizen Photojournalism: Motivations for Photographing a Natural Disaster and Sharing the Photos on the Web (Doctoral dissertation, University of Akron). • Sheldon, P., & Bryant, K. (2016). Instagram: Motives for its use and relationship to narcissism and contextual age. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 89-97. • Van House, N., Davis, M., Ames, M., Finn, M., & Viswanathan, V. (2005, April). The uses of personal networked digital imaging: an empirical study of cameraphone photos and sharing. In CHI'05 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1853-1856). ACM. • Xu, A., & Bailey, B. (2012, February). What do you think?: a case study of benefit, expectation, and interaction in a large online critique community. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 295-304). ACM.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > Service Sector Management
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Service Sector Management
Depositing User: Nicola Palmer
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2017 11:15
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 16:03
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14934

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