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

The concepts of digital “visitors” and “residents” are the following: “Visitors” use the internet as a tool to accomplish something such as booking a holiday, or to complete a task (White and Le Cornu, 2011a), whereas the “resident” ‘lives’ on the web alongside their physical lifestyle. Like one would maintain their physical house and perhaps choose it to project a certain image of them, “residents” will maintain their online presence so as to project an image they feel is representative of them online (White and Le Cornu, 2011a).

Whilst I agree with White and Le Cornu (2011b), I believe that the concept of a “resident” should be revised. The concept of the digital “resident” seems to be straightforward: someone who lives on the web. However, from my exper this isn’t always the case. From my personal online experience, I feel my father is a good example of this. He is of the age where he could be classified as a “visitor”, and to some extent is. The difference is (one I suspect is replicated widely) he has a Facebook and a LinkedIn account, something “visitors” are unlikely to have. The point is that my father is between the two concepts. I feel more clarification is needed on how much a “resident” is a “resident”. My father has Facebook, but doesn’t have the app on his phone and he doesn’t check his account; instead he waits for notifications via email, so he is, in a sense, a “reactionary resident” (parallels can be drawn with Harris et al.’s (p.5, 2010) use of the ‘passive’ and ‘creator’ categories). In context of this added perspective we could reconsider my father as a “passive resident”. He is certainly more of a “resident” than a “visitor”, but doesn’t satisfy the requirements of the “resident” concept.

To conclude, it seems the “resident” label is especially broad and categorically exclusive. Particularly as the concept is constricted, and impractical in its use – it doesn’t account for exceptions in other groups of users, especially when a user has several of White and Le Cornu’s (2011) attributes of both concepts. The need for more clarification can also be seen by the fact that the vast majority of the UK is online (Department for Culture, Media and Sport et al., 2009). I believe this shows that the very varied majority of the UK’s internet users are incompatible with the current “resident” concept.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. (2009). Digital Britain. London: The Stationery Office. [Online]. Available at:www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228844/7650.pdf [Accessed: 9 October 2014)

Harris, L., Warren, L., Leah, J. and Ashleigh, M. (2010). Small steps across the chasm: ideas for embedding a culture of open education in the university sector. Technology & Social Media (Special Issue, Part 2), 1 (16)

White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement . First Monday. [Online]. Available at: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049%20https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/%7Etefko/Courses/Zadar/Readings/Selwyn%20dig%20natives,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf [Accessed: 6 October 2014] b.

White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011). Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. TALL blog. [Online]. Available at: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2008/07/23/not-natives-immigrants-but-visitors-residents/ [Accessed: 7 October 2014] a.

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