Who are we in the digital world?


A digital visitor, as the word ‘visits’ suggest, an individual that simply comes and go. They go on the Internet only if they have a need such as searching for certain information on Google. They do not have a long term presence and certainly leave little or no trace online.

As opposed to a Visitor, a Digital Resident ‘lives’ or ‘resides’ on the web. To an extent where a majority of their life is exposed and happening on the web. Whatever they do, it’s more or less related to the web. They have a long term presence and a digital identity of themselves online.

That’s my interpretation of the concept about Digital Visitors & Residents adapted from David S. White.

Personally, I have been moving towards the Resident side on the Visitor and Resident continuum. Technology came into my life when I was a teenager and as I grew to be more comfortable with it, I cannot stop relying on it. In my free time: I catch shows on Youtube, I shop online, I share my thoughts on Twitter, I share images of my life on Instagram, I catch up with people through Facebook Chats/ WhatsApp.

On the Institutional side, I find myself geared towards the Visitor side. I rarely “stay” on the Digital world when I am doing work. The main platforms I visit are Gmail, Google, Google Docs and various database (I.E. ESBCO). I utilize them for communication and research purposes.

Furthermore, I  prefer the above concept by David O White over Prensky’s Natives and Immigrant that is related to age. Because I agree that digital literacy level should not be matched up to age but instead, to how well one puts technology to use and create a significant presence for themselves in the digital world. Those who do not find a need to “stay” in the digital world will find their own ways of living life. I.E Instead of watching shows on Youtube, they simply watch the television.

Older people can also learn and adapt to the digital world. My mum has a Facebook account and she has been greatly utilizing Google these days. She even uses apps to track schedules and create agenda lists. Hence, it’s up to one to decide if they want to be a Resident or a Visitor.

Are you a resident or a visitor? Do comment! 🙂




White, D. (2014). TALL blog » Blog Archive » Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. [online] Tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk. Available at: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2008/07/23/not-natives-immigrants-but-visitors-residents/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2014].

White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, [online] 16(9). Available at: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2014].



3 thoughts on “Who are we in the digital world?

  1. Hey Zoe, that’s a good write-up that you have there! It is interesting to see how one can be both a digital visitor and resident at the same time, depending on which perspective that you view it from. I like how you separated the use of Internet based on two categories, one being your personal use such as social media and the other being the institutional use such as research done for papers or other work.

    I just have one question as to what extent would you call one a digital resident? How frequently or to what extent must one’s presence be on the web to move from a visitor to a resident?

    I do use social media quite frequently but I’m not sure if I’ll call myself a resident as I feel that my presence on the web is not strong enough. Do let me know your thoughts!


    • Thank you Corrine for your comment!

      To your question, in terms of personal life I feel that the person definitely relies on their digital very constantly throughout their daily life.

      For example:

      1. Browsing through Twitter/Instagram the moment they wake up.

      2. Even when they travel to school/work they watch videos during train ride or browse their social networking sites.

      3.Throughout the day, they share and/or comment on social networks. Usually they are always on their phones.

      4. When they return home, they start using their laptop to surf the internet. They would rather read articles online or watch videos on Youtube as opposed to reading newspapers or watching the television.

      5.Even before bed, they feel that they have a need to check their social networks again and share some thoughts about their day!

      I would say that moving from a visitor to a resident means that one do feel the need to be present on the web. As to how frequently, if the person is starting to behave like the above example where he or she constantly wants to and feels the need to visit the web and leave a trace (i.e share / comment / liking) the person is definitely moving towards a resident.

      Hope that this answers your doubts! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Reflection Time! | Zoe

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