Who are you in this Digital World?

Topic 1: Explain the concept of digital “visitors” and “residents” drawing upon your reading and make your online experiences to date in support of the points that you make.

With the rapid advancements and use of technologies, it seems that we individuals are becoming reliant on them for almost anything. Let’s be honest, how many of us actually still search the book dictionary for definitions? How many of us gets anxious when we don’t have Internet access?

This digitally inclined world has led to several studies and research on ways to classify individuals according to their engagement with the digital world. In 2001, Prensky classified them as “Natives” and “Immigrants”. However, many researchers debate over the relevancy of his generation divided theory to the digital world. The image below shows the differences between these two terms.


I believe his theory was useful to an extent back then. Have you realized how Generation X can survive without electronic gadgets, while we Generation Y can’t even leave our phones for an hour?

In 2011, the concept of “Visitors” and “Residents” by White and Le Cornu, emerged and was used as a replacement to Prensky’s concept.

So what exactly is a “Visitor” and “Resident”?

A visitor, just as what the name suggested, simply goes online and logs off. An individual who applies the “Visitor” concept sees the Web as a tool to obtain certain information in order to accomplish a task or a need. Whereas, a “Resident” sees the Web as a place and spends a portion of their lives online – social networking, shopping etc.

Now, let’s watch the video to have a better understanding of the two terms.

As introduced by JISC, I created a V&R map to better understand myself in this concept.

V&R Map (Topic 1)

Looking at the results, there is no clear distinction of who I really am in this Digital World. Well, there is nothing wrong about it. Like what David White said, “It’s a continuum of ‘modes of engagement’ not two distinct categories.” However, I would definitely want to shift certain interactions to be part of the Institutional / Work category. I am sure by doing so, it would help me to create a better first impression for my future employers, and of course, build up my digital professional profile.

internet privacy

Food for thought:

I stumbled across information that visitors are cautioned about privacy and identity thief. Is that why visitors chose to be visitors? I am keen to hear your thoughts, so share with me!

Till the next time.

(391 words)


Bennet S., Kervin L., & Maton K. (2008). British Journal of Education: The ‘Digital Native’ debate: A critical review of the evidence, Vol.30 (5) Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. Accessed October 30, 2015.

White, D.S. & Cornu, A. Le, 2011. Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). Available at http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049. Accessed October 30, 2015.

White, D. (2008). Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. [Blog] Tall Blog. Available at http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2008/07/23/not-natives-immigrants-but-visitors-residents/%5B. Accessed October 30, 2015.

White, D. (2014). Visitors & Residents. Available at http://daveowhite.com/vandr/. Accessed October 30, 2015.

6 thoughts on “Who are you in this Digital World?

  1. Pingback: Wrapping up | vanna

  2. Good Morning Tian Yi,

    No worries, I can definitely pronounce your name with ease 🙂

    Anyways back to the main topic: I was really amazed at the effort you placed for this post! The visual aid had been particularly helpful with my understanding of the topic more! Especially on Prensky (2001) Native and Immigrant theory, as a representative from generation Y, I’m a typical “can’t even leave our phones for an hour kind of person!” The video had been particularly useful as well!

    The last picture of your post had been particularly intriguing, as my post was moving towards a macro, broader view and trying to understand how does motivation plays a part in an internet user’s decision towards being a resident or visitor. Privacy seems to be a much more narrower, precise and related to motivation, a factor which we may look into with more depth!

    My aunt for example, does own a facebook account with the intention to be updated on me and my other relatives and personal life events once in awhile. However, she is extremely caution with regards to her personal information and photos from leaking out, hence it deters her from posting anything at all ! Which sums up to why I labeled her as a digital (stalking) visitor!

    Thank you for the effort! I really enjoyed this piece of write up, your doing good! Peace out 😀


    • Hey Patrick,

      Thank you for reading my post!

      I am glad the image of the differences between “Natives” and “Immigrants” did helped you to have a better understanding of the whole picture. Also, thank you for sharing about the motivation part, because i didn’t thought about that, and how both of it are actually linked.

      Lastly, i definitely agree with the example given about your aunt. Let me share with you another example on motivation. My grandfather (60+ years old) didn’t own a FaceBook account or know nuts about it initially. However, he recently created one because all his daughters, sons, and grandchildren are using it, and he thinks that it’s a way for him to keep updated with us in the midst of his busy schedule. Now, he is even more into FB than us!



  3. Hi Tian Yi,

    Your first paragraph is nicely done – highlighting how technology is playing a big part in our lives and how reliant we are on it! I share the same sentiments about people not using the dictionary as often as compared to the past and how lost most people will feel when they couldn’t access to Internet.

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with being a combination of ‘resident’ and ‘visitor’ as White has stated that the terms are just extreme ends of how people behave on the Internet. I am both a ‘resident’ and ‘visitor’ depending on which social media platform or website I visit and I believe that nobody actually has a fixed role but they can switch between them.

    Overall, I enjoyed reading your post and I look forward to hear more from you!


    • Hey Vanna,

      I am glad that you enjoyed my post, because i enjoyed reading your post too!

      Since this reply came a bit late, and we are already halfway through this module, don’t you think that we should work towards becoming a resident in certain online activities that will help us build our digital professional profile? Maybe we can start by LinkedIn, since its the most popular network for recruitment! We can connect with people through LinkedIn groups and learn from them as well.

      Do let me know what you think. And lastly, thank you for your comment (:



  4. Pingback: Review of topic 1: Digital Visitors or Residents? | Life of Pat

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