About Me

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

#UOSM2008 - Task 1 - Question: 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.

Task 1 - #UOSM2008

Question: 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.


Digital ‘visitors’ and ‘residents’ are two relatively new terms used to describe the different ways users interact with the internet and technology.

These divisions have appeared through the use of the terms:

·      Digital natives (‘young people who have grown up in the digital world and hence are expert users of technology’) [1]
·      Digital immigrants (‘older people who struggle to master these new norms and behaviors)[1]

In my opinion these terms for division of users is unsatisfactory. Just because you’ve have grown up without technology doesn’t mean you cant use it properly. Is Bill Gates really a digital immigrant??

Digital Visitors

Digital visitors use online services but don’t integrate their entire lives into it. The technology is only used when required for example booking a holiday [2] They have a focused need to use the web but definitely don’t reside there. They don’t use technology for the sake of using it.

From my personal experience an example of a user would be my father. He uses e-mail and LinkedIn, but allocates time in his diary and does not enjoy learning to use new features. When learning a new skill on the computer face to face contact is essential.

Digital Resident

Also known as a digital native. Users use the Internet on multiple occasions each day, and have it built into their everyday lives and everything they do. These people have a persona online that they maintain regularly. [2] It is important to them how their online profiles look, and sometimes even how much attention they get.

I think of myself as a digital resident, my smartphone is constantly connecting me to the Internet wherever I go. Notifications for a variety of online services notify me of ‘goings on’ when I am away from the computer; services include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Personal Experience

I have developed various social networking profiles both for personal and professional use. They allow me to stay in touch with friends, and at the same time stay in touch with professionals who might will turn out to be useful contacts in the future.


In conclusion the terms digital residents/visitors is a useful division but the terms should be taken with a pinch of salt. You don’t have to be one or the other, its very likely that a user can be a combination of the two.



  1. Hi Tim,

    Interesting post, it was a good read. I liked the use of paragraphs and that it was short and straight to the point. The only thing, I think, you could have explained in details is your conclusion, as you mentioned the combination of two types, but didn't provide any examples or explanation.

    Another thing I've noticed is that you didn't reference Marc Prensky's article, which was reviewed by most of the students as I could have seen. That's actually great, as it means your ideas would be different and that is most important thing, to my mind.


    1. Thanks for you kind feedback Vlad :)

      In future posts I will attempt to improve my conclusions.

  2. Hi Tim, nice blog and your post was informative and concise.

    I agree with you that an individual is not necessarily a visitor or a resident, but infact takes a position on a spectrum between the two. I believe that it may be possible for someone to be a resident online social media sites but lack a professional online image, and hence behave like a visitor on sites like LinkedIn.

    You mentioned your father doesn't enjoy learning how to use new features and I'm sure many others are also hesitant to engage on new technological platforms.

    Do you believe that this could present a barrier between them and the more digitally literate or even cause them to miss out on new trends, hence not using the web to it's full potential?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your kind feedback!

      I think your absolutely right in that this lack of understanding of online technologies could have a knock on effect on individuals productivity and therefore they may miss out on opportunities.

      It's a difficult process however convincing these individuals that it is worth investing time in these platforms, when there is no immediate financial gain.