Topic 1: Digital Residents and Visitors

Before the mid 80’s, access to computers, related technology and the media was limited to TV, radio, film and print. Since then, there has been continuous access to new technologies, which have expanded an individual’s access to the world. According to McLuhan (1964), “the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology and an instantaneous movement of information”. With this, the concept of ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’ has some what been eradicated and replaced with ‘digital visitors’ and ‘digital residents’.

White and Cornu (2011) state that the concept of digital ‘visitors’ and ‘residents’ provides an insight into how people behave when interacting with technology, disregarding factors such a demographics and looking further into psychological and sociocultural factors, such as behaviour. Visitors are simply users, not members of the Internet, therefore placing little value into belonging to online communities such as YouTube. The description of ‘visitors’ is one that fits with those from the older generation who are comfortable with using technology simply to book a holiday or search local restaurants. These visitors are unlikely to have an online profile as they prefer to communicate the old fashion way, through telephone, email and face-to-face.

 In comparison, ‘residents’, such as myself and I’m sure many on this course, use the Internet as a point of interaction. For many of us, social spheres such as Facebook and Instagram have expanded our openness to the web and the ways in which we can easily interact with online communities, simply by the click of a mouse. For residents, technology fosters the idea of a conglomerate yet unified global community and YouTube personifies this. As a frequent user of YouTube, I’m able to gain advice and follow the lives of those from all over the world. Through this, common interests and concerns are established. As a blogger, frequent user of Instagram and shamefully someone who thinks they can’t live without technology, I think its safe to say I’m a resident.

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, I feel that the Internet (when used correctly) provides us with endless opportunities. However, it is important to mention, especially in regards to residents, that being dependent on online profiles formed, can affect the ways in which we interact with people on a day-to-day basis. The fact that many of us have more ‘friends’ on Facebook than we actually have in real life is worrying!,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf#p4•+McLuhan+describes+how+the+globe+has+been+contracted+into+a+village+by+electric+technology+and+the+instantaneous+movement+of+information.&source=bl&ots=ZfsjPAVBMr&sig=JwujQtOraQr2oqhwj5e0lqIzR58&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sbbXVI3pAcbD7gaeqoDgDw&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=•%20McLuhan%20describes%20how%20the%20globe%20has%20been%20contracted%20into%20a%20village%20by%20electric%20technology%20and%20the%20instantaneous%20movement%20of%20information.&f=false


5 thoughts on “Topic 1: Digital Residents and Visitors

  1. Sarah Kyle says:

    Hi Nicole! Really liked your quote from McLuhan at the beginning of your blog, it definitely caught my attention.

    I’m not sure I agree with your description of ‘visitors’ as being that of the ‘older generation’. My interpretation of White and Cornu’s work was they were trying to move away from defining ‘visitors’ like Prensky’s ‘immigrants’ (Prensky’s definition was by digital competency and age).

    From my own experience, I couldn’t call my granddad a digital ‘visitor’. He has his own Facebook account, and even recommends Facebook pages and groups to me. He communicates online just as much as he does in the ‘old fashioned’ ways. I don’t think all of the older generation can be defined as digital ‘visitors’.

    I definitely agree with your point about Facebook friends though, it is scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. francescacharnley says:

    Like yourself I would definitely consider myself to be a ‘resident’, frequently using Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. You mention that the description of ‘visitors’ fits best with an older generation, which I do agree with to a certain extent. However there are exceptions to this I think, recently I’ve had a few friends parents friend requests on Facebook and I know that many businessmen and women especially can feel just as confident if not more so using technology than younger generations. I do completely agree that it is more common that younger generations are more likely to fall into the ‘resident’ category as we have grown up with technology and naturally feel more comfortable using it.

    Reading a few of the other blogs and with my own research I think the digital ‘visitors’ and ‘residents’ theory is a spectrum that you can be positioned in where you can be both a ‘resident’ and a ‘visitor’ at different times. What is your opinion on this?


  3. dilinisene says:

    Hiya Nicole 🙂

    I was thinking whether or not I agree with ‘visitors’ being from the ”older generation” from my experience and I think I understand how you mean when you generalise the digital visitors to be from the older generation.

    Even Prensky’s definition of ‘immigrants’ were not adapted much by Cornu and White and so I thought they were trying to ”move away” from Prensky’s definition, as Sarah said above.

    However, there are many relatives I know who don’t interact with social media and online communication as much as me and my cousins for example and I agree with you about them wanting to communicate in a ”old fashion way”, so I get many phone calls instead of Facebook messages from my aunts and uncles.

    If only we could regularly keep in touch with all our 500+ Facebook friends like we do with our relatives over the phone(!).


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