The modern digital age has shaped individuals, young or old, to be proficient in technology. Prensky’s framework generalized the older generation who were less exposed to technology as ‘digital immigrants’ while ‘digital natives’ were used to label the younger generation who grew up with technology.
While it seems to be a trend that the older generation is slowly but surely getting the hang of using the web, White developed the ‘Visitors and Residents’ model to show a more progressive relationship and counter the misconception of ‘Natives and Immigrants’.
So how do we categorize individuals as a ‘digital resident’ or a ‘digital visitor’?
(Credit: Visitors and Residents continuum, White and Le Cornu, 2011)
‘Digital residents’ are individuals who have incorporated the online world not just for practical usage but also for expressing their personalities and socializing with others. The traits of digital residency can be commonly found in bloggers where they constantly maintain strong virtual connections with their readers, and eventually make a career out of it.
‘Digital visitors’ on the other hand are not bothered to make their presence known in the digital world. The internet is simply used as a tool to assist them in specific tasks and once their objectives are met, they will log off from the web.
As I am drafting this post, I turned to my dad and this was what I saw…..
He finally sees the importance of being slightly more tech-savvy. It was not only until in recent years that he got himself a mobile phone. I vividly remember him telling me that he never needs a smart phone. In this digital era, I suppose my dad was “forced” to leave being a ‘digital visitor’. He used to monitor his shares through teletext which are extinct. Now, he monitors live telecast of shares through websites of stock exchange companies. The social environment encourages the use of technology by having their products and services digitalised.
In my opinion, no one can solely be a ‘visitor’ or a ‘resident’ for it is a continuum. I am unsure myself as the scale is skewed towards both ends of the spectrum when I engage the web for different purposes. Taking for example, I am a ‘visitor’ when I solely go online to read up on the latest news happenings in the world. The scale is then instantly skewed when I participate in online conversations which portray the characteristics of a ‘resident’. Regardless, I think it is important to strike a balance between the two and continue to engage in physical interactions.
Which one are you? Or are you just as confused as I am? Leave me your comments in the comment box below!
White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. (Accessed on 03/11/2016)