Would you travel halfway around the world to take a photo in front of the Facebook sign? No? How about the Android mascot? Well, according to The Mercury News, a lot of people are doing these things.
"What you're seeing are people on a pilgrimage," Stanford communications professor Fred Turner told the paper. "We now see pilgrimages to firms that in ways both good and bad are colonizing our everyday lives. Folks are looking for a physical place behind the kind of dematerialized experience that they have online."
The corporate headquarters of Facebook isn't the only draw, with Google, Apple, and Tesla all attracting visitors — even if they're never allowed inside any actual buildings.
"We are all the way from India," one tourist in front of the Facebook sign, Pavi Rajkumar, told the paper. Meanwhile, Daniel Rezende, from Brazil, explained his motivation in trekking to the Google campus. "We use Google every day, every hour, so we wanted to visit it."
Eiji Matsumoto, in town from Tokyo, was on a multi-site trip — with plans to see the offices of Oracle, HP, Google, Tesla, Intel, eBay, Yahoo, and Apple. "Everything is huge, just huge," he told Mercury News. "One company is like one city in Japan."
While many tourists may be self-guided and unofficial, ABC 7 reports that it's not for a lack of paid opportunities. Those looking to plunk down $300 to $1,300 can get inside some tech companies — though you might only be taken to a gift shop ($15 for a Google t-shirt).
Anyway, just getting a picture in front of a company logo might be enough for some. Canadian Vicky Hsu seemed content to just check out Facebook's big thumbs-up sign in person. "It's pretty cool," she observed, "eh?"