Sitting behind my laptop right now trying to decide if I am a digital visitor or resident myself while attempting to make sense of what I have read up about this topic.
Just to start myself(and you) on the right path, I need to emphasise that we should not view “visitors” and “residents” as separate entities but a continuum(David S. White, Alison Le Cornu)(in other words, a continuous series where no part is perceptibly different from the other) instead. I will explain more after defining these terms!
Digital “visitors” are people who visit the web with a specific purpose like finding the nearest clinic or the cheapest food in town and leave after getting what they want. These people have no interests in a prolonged stay or engagement in any online social interaction.
Conversely, digital “residents” visit the web with the intention of engaging with others, possibly through mediums like Facebook, YouTube, or online forums like Quora(David White). They treat the web as a social space and it often takes up a huge part of their lives.
I would love to give specific examples of “visitors” and “residents”, but like I mentioned earlier, I believe that there is no clear distinction between these two Internet users. In fact, it would be rather myopic to simply dictate someone as a ‘visitor’ or ‘resident’. Preferably I would like to make the comparison based on the degree of web usage that each person uses, and conclude if they are more of a “visitor” or “resident” than giving a definite answer.
I say so because the purpose that people use the internet for is ever-changing. Before this module started, I daresay I hardly had much social interaction on the internet (unless of course you include internet-based messaging like WhatsApp). I was highly inactive on my social media accounts, I never joined any community or forums, and only had a few online diaries that I frankly do not update often either.
Things are different now with the commencement of this very course, because right now I am about to be a daily blogger and user of Twitter, and I will definitely be engaging a lot more with my lecturers and classmates online.
So does this convert me from a digital “visitor” to a “resident”? Do I revert back to being a “visitor” after this module ends?
“Visitor” or “Resident”, I do not think I will ever come to a decision.
David S. White, Alison Le Cornu, 5 September 2011, Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement, http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049%20https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~tefko/Courses/Zadar/Readings/Selwyn%20dig%20natives,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf [Accessed on 3 Nov 2016]
Ian Clark, 16 July 2015, Visitors and residents: understanding digital behaviours, http://www.infotoday.eu/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Visitors-and-residents-understanding-digital-behaviours-105217.aspx [Accessed on 3 Nov 2016]
David White, 2015, Visitors and Residents, http://daveowhite.com/vandr/ [Accessed on 3 Nov 2016]