“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building on the new” (Socrates). Is the ‘change’ successfully reflected on the Web by visitors and residents? I am looking for the answer in the following paragraphs.

An introduction to the segmentation of the digital users was made by Prensky (2001), who identified two categories: natives and immigrants. This was based on the idea that the natives represent a younger group, grown up in the context of an incredible technological progress with emerging innovative technologies, while the immigrants consist of adopters (Prensky, 2001). These notions were a great influence on how educational institutions perceived students and technology.

However, despite still being used in some journal articles or as an excuse for poor or ineffective teaching practices, this distinction is nowadays dead, or at least dying, according to Holton (Articulate 360, n.d.). Thereby, White and Le Cornu (2012) perfected this breaking down in two other categories: visitors and residents. What are their characteristics? Check the following video.

In order to understand people’s engagement with technology, experts developed multiple solutions related to mapping. An interesting approach was taken by Kevin Kelly (Articulate 360, n.d.), who asked a sample of more than 50 people to ‘map their geography of online’. Looking at the results, the following two seemed the most interesting to me.

Kevin Kelly








By watching the Visitors and Residents mapping activity video of David White (2013b), I sketched a version of my personalized digital engagement map. This 2D illustration brings outside some underlying attitudes, showing the way I engage with technology, meeting the purpose of the experiment proposed by the researcher.

Personal Map

Personally, I consider that my version of this map can be divided in three main regions:

  • Social media covers a significant part of the area on the upper area of the map, associated with ‘personal’ activities;
  • Personal management which is mainly near personal purposes, but predominantly on the visitor side;
  • University-related purposes associated with institutional activities and objectives

It is interesting to notice that the bottom-right corner of the map seems the emptiest. This might be the place for the #UOSM2008 module and I will monitor this in the weeks to come.

All in all, my conclusion is that the people that ‘are online’, no matter if they consider themselves visitors, residents or a mix, embraced the technological progress in a successful manner. Thereby, they are consciously trying to build on the new, by cohabiting and achieving their online purposes.

Word count: 419 words


9 thoughts on “Visitor or Resident? The digital dilemma of the 21st century

  1. Excellent blog Andrei! You really engaged me as a reader and I found the pictures coupled with the videos really helpful in illustrating your points. It is evident that you put a lot of thought and effort into this blog and I appreciate how you went out of your way to tell us your own personal opinion on the concept of Visitors and Residents for each individual social media platform. One thing that was not included in the diagram you created was WordPress so it would be interesting to consider where you think that would be best placed on the diagram. Talking as a whole, where do you believe you fit on the continuum? Do you consider yourself more of a digital Visitor or more of a digital Resident?



    1. Hi Alex!

      Thank you very much for the nice words. In order to answer your questions: first of all I consider myself at the moment a Resident on WordPress, especially after the start of the #UOSM2008 module. Furthermore, I’m using the platform for both personal and institutional purposes which places it on the right-middle part of my diagram. I will consider updating the map with WordPress, as your point is interesting, so thanks for that!
      Moving on to the second question, it is difficult to pick a certain place on the continuum, but I’m tempted to say that I’m somewhere between the middle and resident.



  2. Hi Andrei,

    I enjoyed reading your viewpoints on the topic as well as, the images you have produced to detail your own experiences.

    I agree with Prensky’s (2001) view that, the era that an individual has grown up in has affected the level and means of digital use and its need for adaptation for educational purposes. During my later school years there was a greater emphasis on ICT skills with Microsoft programmes and very little focus on dangers an benefits of online sites. What were your experiences?

    For your question: Where would you place yourself on the ‘visitor’ and ‘resident’ spectrum? I believe that my position would be central but swaying towards ‘resident’. I actively engage with social media sites where my movement is traceable however, I am reserved in my privacy and security in accordance to which sites I interact with.



    1. Hi Mary!

      Thank you very much for your comment! My experience is quite similar to yours: I started to learn how to use ICT skills and Microsoft software in a professional way. However, I have never really thought about the dangers of online sites, so I made myself more self-aware regarding this.
      I am glad that you replied my question and it is interesting to see where my colleagues from #UOSM2008 place themselves.


  3. Hi Andrei! I think your blog is insightful and very cohesive. It follows a clear structure and I like how it has incorporated some new material such as Kevin Kelly’s approach which I was previously unaware of. In addition, there was good use of media through the youtube video and your personal map. As I stated in my piece do you feel that it’s common for people of our age to not have developed our professional online identity yet, or would it be something that worries you? I look forward to following your blogs through the next few weeks!


    1. Hi Jordan!
      Thank you very much for this comment. I am glad that you enjoyed Kevin Kelly’s approach. After reading your article, I reflected a little bit on my perception of my personal online identity. I am quite happy with how I developed mine, even before University, but I think starting with the Undergraduate studies, students start to realise the importance of it. Thereby, in the first year at Uni I created a LinkedIn profile, which became one of my favourite social networks! Looking forward to your following articles too!

      Liked by 1 person

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