(University of Oxford, 2014)
The paradigm maps people’s behaviour on a continuum and individuals can identify themselves along the range, with Digital Resident and Visitor as extremes on both ends.
The main element that differentiates a Digital Resident and a Digital Visitor is their online presence. A Resident displays his communal footprints over the web, revealing his opinions and ideas through several platforms such as posting of reviews on social sharing sites and discussing actively in forums. The virtual space is more akin to a “place” that encourages social exchange of information. On the other hand, a Visitor chooses to be anyomnous and does not establish his online presence. A Visitor comes across as goal-oriented, exits the online network once he has attained his goal (e.g. To search for information). Using online technology as a “tool”, he may not interact with others as much as a Visitor will do. Social media sites can be also an entry point for a Visitor to look for information.
Compared to Prensky’s “Digital Natives and Immigrant”, these above metaphoric terms do not relate to competency distinction. On surface, a Resident may seem much technically adept but that does not determine the level of digital literacy. For instance, a Resident may not show efficiency in information gathering because he habitualises around chat applications. However, a Digital Visitor may be more efficient in research as the basis of the task does not require any social interaction and is able to gather information objectively.
Hereby, emphasis should be placed on how people decide to engage with online technology in relevance to their motivation. And that will determine how they are placed along the continuum. Factors such as perception of online technology (i.e. privacy and security), context and situation may be the underlying reasons why an individual aligns closer to being a Digital Resident or Visitor.
Individuals may exhibit the behaviour of either one in different context. In my case, I am considered as a Digital Resident in private terms. However the rapid emergence of new online applications do make it a challenge to keep up. Hence, I display a Resident approach on social sites such as Facebook and Instagram; but when it comes to others (e.g. Tumblr, Twitter), I’m a Visitor in that sense. Under professional terms, I take on the role of a Visitor; searching for job vacancies when it is needed and I do not maintain a professional identity (i.e. LinkedIn).
OCLCResearch, (2015). Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment?. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCBoLWynsl8 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2015].
White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).
University of Oxford, (2014). Simple Visitor & Resident map. [image] Available at: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/category/projects/visitors-and-residents/ [Accessed 30 Oct. 2015].