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

In the past, Pretsky’s (2001) distinction between digital “natives” and “immigrants” had been used to understand computing competence and age. He argued natives were those who had been brought up in digital world and were technology adept, as opposed to those who had been brought up prior to this, called immigrants. These immigrants consisted of the older generation who would always have less experience, thus knowledge, of technology.

Much criticised, this concept suggested that the impact of age affects technological skills, overlooking the potential impact of socio-economic factors in societies where people were less interested or able (Bennett, et al., 2008,). As a result a new concept has been replaced, looking at digital visitors and residents to identify online presence and behaviour.

A digital visitor will use the internet to search for focused interests and needs, fulfilling specific tasks they had initially set out to do. Swayed away from the idea of leaving online traces such as profiles, they see the web in an organised matter, as a tool (White, 2008).

Digital residents perceive the web to be a perfect opportunity to express themselves, whether it be through social platforms such as Facebook or through personal blogs. Nonetheless, residents spend the majority of their time online, presenting themselves in social networks (White, 2008).

After watching David White’s video (2013) on Digital Mapping,  I feel I am very much a digital resident, as my engagement on the web involves accounts and social networking. For example, on Facebook,  I use it for personal online chatting and help run the Southampton University Basketball Page, keeping followers updated on current affairs. I also use Skype to communicate with friends and family and Spotify for entertainment- both of which I have apps for on my phone.

What I also found interesting was Whites continuum of ”personal” vs ”institutional”- he implied that we may have different types of e.g digital residency whether it be personal or not. I can certainly relate to this, when I use LinkedIn. It is institutional in the sense that it is used for employability purposes, but on the residents spectrum because I have an account, am an active user and update it regularly.

The typology of a digital resident and visitor should be firmly understood as being on a continuum, allowing individuals to place themselves anywhere in between. Furthermore, regardless of whether your online presence is mostly personal or institutional, it is up to you be ”on the ball”, especially if you are a resident like me, constantly refining and developing digital skills in order to benefit yourself.


Bennett, S, Maton, K, & Kervin, L. (2008) “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence,” British Journal of Educational Technology, volume 39, number 5, pp. 775–786. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00793.x  [Accessed: 10th October 2014]

Prensky, M. (2001) “Digital natives, digital immigrants,” On the Horizon, volume 9, number 5, [Online] Available at:http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf, [Accessed: 10th October 2014]

White, D. (2008) “Not Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’, TALL blog, University of Oxford, [Online] Available at: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2008/07/23/not-natives-immigrants-but-visitors-residents/ [Accessed: 10th October 2014]

White, D. (2013) Just the Mapping [Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK1Iw1XtwQ [Accessed: 10th October 2014]

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