#Topic 1 · #Topic1 · #UOSM2008 · Topic 1 · Topic1

What do we mean by Digital Visitors and Digital Residents?

Digital Visitors and Digital Residents are two terms coined to replace the idea of Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. The original terms, as described in the image below, are considered to be out of date and not descriptive enough of the ways different individuals interact with the internet, particularly as there is not such a clear grouping of people in the online world.
pic21[Digital Immigrants vs Digital Natives: Closing the Gap]

The concept of a Digital Native or Immigrant appears to be dependent on the idea of how much usage you get out of the online world, with Digital Natives being more likely to have grown up with the internet and using it for a large variety of tasks at any one given point in time, whereas Digital Immigrants tend to use the internet on a task by task basis, and tend to use more well known websites from firms who are already established in other media.

[image component sources: 1,2,3,4,5]

The above image shows the difference between Digital Residents and Visitors, the main difference here is in style of approach to internet usage. Residents tend to be more happy to show themselves and their views online, engaging in communities and discussions, whereas Visitors are more likely to have set tasks to complete and will use the internet as a tool. However it should be noted that the Residents-Visitors comparison operates as more of a scale representing the fact that the internet has a vast different usage type in this modern age. [Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’]

The Digital Residents and Visitors distinction is a useful distinction to make, as it allows us to consider different approaches to an individual’s usage of the internet. From the considerations of what sort of internet user is more likely to use which sort of website. The distinction also allows web designers to build websites to best fit their usage, with websites which are more often used by Visitors opting for a more menu and tab based system (A simple system such as the BBC website), and more discussion based communities often requiring the use of key search terms and some intuition (such as Reddit).


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 [Accessed 10 February 2017]

Prensky, M., (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. [Accessed 10 February 2017]

Prensky, M., (2009). From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom [Accessed 10 February 2017]

Unplag Team (2015). Digital Immigrants vs Digital Natives: Closing the Gap [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

White, D., & Cornu, A. L. (2008). Tall blog. [Accessed 10 February 2017]

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

Special Mention to the BBC Website and Reddit both Accessed on 10 February 2017

Images & Logos References

Unplag Team (2015). Digital Immigrants vs Digital Natives: Closing the Gap [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

1- Twitter https://brand.twitter.com/en.html [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

2- Facebook https://en.facebookbrand.com/assets/f-logo [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

3- Amazon http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml%3Fc%3D176060%26p%3Dirol-logos [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

4- Instagram https://en.instagram-brand.com/assets/glyph-icon [Accessed on 10 February 2017]

5- Paxabay https://pixabay.com/en/screwdriver-settings-spanner-system-1294338/ [Accessed on 10 February 2017] – Creative Commons Public Domain


5 thoughts on “What do we mean by Digital Visitors and Digital Residents?

  1. Hi Philip,

    Well done on your first post! I enjoyed reading your exploration of ‘digital immigrants vs digital natives and the differences between the ‘digital visitor’ and ‘digital resident’ titles. I would initially ‘paint myself to be a ‘digital native’ due to: the era I was born in, the amount of devices that I own and multitasking approach I take to using the digital world to manage my life. My digital engagement though sites such as: online banking, social media and university systems, would reward me with the title of ‘digital resident’. Which category would you label yourself with? Is there one online tool that you access over others?

    In line with Prensky’s (2001) idea of the integration of the digital world as a platform for education, I believe that every individual should be enabled with the skills necessary to bridge the gap between ‘immigrant’ to ‘native’. To appeal to those past educational level, my initial thought process would be to establish steady integration of the technology into the work place at the suitability of the learner. What are your views on this?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your comment. I would consider myself someone who is becoming closer to being a Digital Resident over time, I am becoming more involved in social media as it is becoming useful for organising and promoting events, however I probably currently fall short on engaging with online debates having been put off the thought by reading various different comment sections on various new media outlets.

      I think the gap between immigrants and natives is becoming more blurred over time, as with the internet becoming more important to the working world, more people have to adapt to it. This is also made easier by all of the online guides to how to achieve certain things and free courses available in more advanced areas such as coding (e.g. Code Academy). Therefore I think the real key to bridging the remaining gap is providing easy offline ways to access simple guides online, teaching people search term optimisation for services such as Google Search would really help to bridge the gap in understanding for example.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. i think it means that not all of the radical and ruthless nationalism is racist and seeped in professed anoitemdcratic tendencies of the kind that already led to huge disasters in Europe in the previous century, but some of it is.


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