|Topic 1|“Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents” #MANG2049

Topic 1.jpg

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.

(399 Words)


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]





9 thoughts on “|Topic 1|“Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents” #MANG2049”

  1. Hello Teresa! First off, lovely graphics here 👍 It is interesting when you mentioned about converting from a visitor to resident and possibly back again. Perhaps one disadvantage of this theory is that there is no name or identification of an individual who is a bit of a resident and a visitor, as you mentioned (and I agree) that focusing on the two approaches is myopic. I was also thinking that users should have a balance of resident and visitor traits, what do you think?


    1. Hi Karise!

      Thanks for your comment and compliment 🙂 Mmmhmm, those people who are the ‘in-betweens’ should be given a name too, perhaps the ‘roamers’? Hahahaha. Hmm personally I feel that it isn’t a ‘should’ issue but one of more flexibility. I feel that being a visitor or resident both brings about pro’s and con’s. Ultimately it really depends on what the user wants to receive from their web usage, so it will be challenging to strike a ‘balance’ since everyone’s wants and needs are different. It is an interesting point to bring up though, thanks for helping me work my brain juices!


  2. Hey Teresa,
    Hi-5! I am in the same predicament!
    While I do have accounts on a decent number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, etc., I do not actively post and have them updated frequently. I use the platform largely to stay updated with my friends and relatives. Of course, that includes looking up other influential individuals on social media.
    However, I do prefer to have some sort of a conclusion for myself, rather than leaving it open ended. Therefore, I have settled for an ‘in between status’, meaning I’m half a digital resident on occasions when I decide to posts about my latest vacation and half a digital visitor when I surf around the internet without leaving a social trace.
    I guess you can consider yourself tending towards a digital resident during the span of this module due to the constant postings of your thoughts on the blog as well as twitter – leaving social presence digitally. After the module, we can then decide whether or to revert back to being an in-between, unless you’ve taken an interest and decides to be a blogger! (:


    1. Hi Joletta!

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 I agree that my current status is closer to a digital ‘resident’ than a ‘visitor’, given how I am just check twitter every few minutes for the past few days since the module started HAHA. Without this module I guess I am pretty similar with you, being a half-visitor and half-resident. It might be useful to start associating ourselves with more of these web applications and learning how to use them though, given how much our world depends on the internet now! Thank you for sharing your insights with me 🙂


  3. Hi Teresa!

    First! Let me help you make a decision on you being a “Visitor” or “Resident”, my answer to that? You simply don’t have to! I believe that you have acknowledged framework as a continuum in your post.

    The linearity of the continuum represents the degree of “social engagement” an individual commit to when using a particular platform (Facebook etc.) So don’t sweat over classifying yourself! The main purpose of this framework is doing quite the opposite, it acknowledges behavioural variability. I personally think that finding the right degree of engagement will be the key to finding balance, and it is important to do so.

    I hope you will be able to see the advantages of being engaged on a social media platform post-module! Thank you for this wonderful post.


    1. Hi Norman!

      Thank you for your input! 🙂 Yes indeed, I think all these discussion just further proves that there is no distinct classifications of internet users because our needs and actions are ever changing. I will gladly accept my status as a floater! I hope I do too, this platform does have its wonders evidently. Thank you for your comment too 🙂


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