Phillip Wade Wilson

A talk about guidebooks – Thesis

The work by Ana Alacovska is a clear piece of a thesis. She writes about the industry of travel guidebooks as the print and digital ages begin to clash, and the latter begins to surpass the former. She opens with an abstract to start off her thesis paper and then goes into introducing us to a case where this is applicable. She states how BBC Worldwide took over Lonely Planet and made it better than before because it was able to turn a profit and show growth even during the recession.

She then goes into detail about why the digital age was so useful for travel guidebooks, specifically in the case of BBC Worldwide and Lonely Planet – “digital amateur work and productivity of ProAms”. What this did was give a mass amount of knowledge and know-how to amateurs because of the newfound ease of social ability that made understanding and carrying out tasks that would typically be done by a professional, able to be done by an ‘average Joe’. While not mentioned in the reading, an example of this would be the use of Trip Advisor and Yelp by many people today. Wherever anyone goes, they can write reviews on a restaurant, hotel, or even amusement park… this has made use of the collective’s ability to socialize and present information to each other in order for a better understanding to come about. No longer are hotels and restaurants catering to one or a few critics but the saying “everyone’s a critic” now rings true and places can now utilize this, especially in the travel industry.

Throughout her thesis she presents the counter-arguments to the thoughts she is pushing forward, however simultaneously she refutes them and proves how she is correct, and these counter-arguments are not. To where this appears in the text it is easy to point out because her paragraphs of refutation always start with “In contrast”, “However”, “Nevertheless”, and often the dialogue inserted is a way to initialize the refutation. These can be found in every section of her writing and she provides about three or four refutations per section, giving the reader three or four reasons to agree with her. I find this very interesting and smart because oftentimes people say “give me three good reasons” for or against something so I find it much better to do this than one overarching rebuttal to her claims.

In her conclusion, she states much of the same things that she did in her abstract and opening, but she puts it in the context of what she has stated. Assuming that the reader has read her entire paper before getting to her conclusion she makes references to her arguments and the refutations she made as well as emphasizes her original argument about professional and amateur writers within the guidebook industry.

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