Digital ‘Visitors and Residents’: Moving In

Prensky (2001) assumes someone of my generation must be a ‘digital native’ having grown up and gained a fluency in languages of computing and Web services to live, learn and work with. Whereas older generations are natural ‘digital immigrants’ with little experience of digital technology and require more education to become equally as competent.

After filling out the digital literacy self-test sheet (shown below) I am definitely not a ‘digital native’. as Prensky would define them.

Digital Literacy Self-Test

Digital Self-test

My results can be explained using the typology set out in a study by White and Cornu (2011) who built upon the rigid typology of Prensky. A more flexible approach, they don’t assume that age doesn’t equal competency or experience, and set out that these skills are gained with practise. The amount you practise depends on how engaged you are with various digital technologies.

The concepts are best described in this video:

Am I a visitor or a resident?

Using the JISC mapping process, I mapped out my engagement of digital technologies on a personal and educational level.

Introtopic-Mapping correct

Courtesy of JISC (2014)

As you can see with the result I am primarily a digital visitor for most technologies. One of the reasons this typology is superior is because it accounts for ‘moving’ in and out of engagement, being a ‘visitor and resident’. If I would have been asked five years ago my map would be dramatically different – I was extremely engaged on a personal level with many of these platforms. Now I find myself more of a ‘lurker’, somewhat engaged through reading and writing occasional posts, but not engaging completely.

Using the ‘resident and visitor’ typology I can see that my level of engagement isn’t good practise for developing my digital skills. I believe this module will be useful for me in order to become more engaged on these platforms and begin my journey of ‘moving in’ to become a resident, practising these skills and building a professional presence online.

Word count: 316


Jisc. (2014). ‘Mapping process’ [online] Available at: [Accessed 11/02/2018]

Jiscnetskills. (2014). ‘Visitors and Residents Available at:

Prensky, M. (2001) ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1’. On the Horizon, 9(5). [online] Available at: [Accessed 11/02/2018]

White, D. S. and Cornu, A. L. (2011). ‘Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement.’ First Monday16(9). [online] Available at:,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf [Accessed 11/02/2018]

If you’re interested in online participation and lurking:

Edelmann, N. (2017). Lurking in online participation and e-participation. 2017 Fourth International Conference on eDemocracy & eGovernment (ICEDEG).



8 thoughts on “Digital ‘Visitors and Residents’: Moving In

  1. Hi Luke,
    I really enjoyed in your blog post the point where you carried out yourself assessment and mentioned that you have become less of a resident over the years. Which is, in my opinion, quite a bold personality trait to not be so involved with social media platforms which I admire. Do you have a reason as to why you have chosen to do this or has it just gradually become not as important?
    What do you think people find so appealing and what do they find unattractive about the availability of digital network that we have?
    I would say that it has a lot to do with the ease of access, everywhere we go there is some sort of free Wi-Fi on offer allowing us to remain connected to it. The online network is a rapid source of information and is continually being updated, and once you know how to use, I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t turn back.
    (164 words)


    • Hi Megan, thanks for your comment!

      I’d say my shift to becoming more of a visitor was a combination of my own decision to take a step back from social media, I felt as though I was living my life more online than offline and it got exhausting trying to keep up with various platforms. Also my personal networks never really grew above who I knew, and we were all starting A-Levels and so I believe me and my friends also just naturally shifted away from using it. My personal Twitter is a big example for me, I used to live tweet anything I was interested in and then I just lost interest/ time got in the way for me, and I never really went back.

      I think people find attractive is the amount of information and the potential for connectivity, if people invest a lot of time and effort into networks there is potential for it to grow and for some people, especially those that do business online that is important. I definitely agree about Wi-Fi it means now we can connect to fast networks anywhere. To me this is where digital networks become unattractive, there is no downtime – it’s exhausting to read and keep up with so much and yet everyone expects you to know it. Now I still am an avid reader of social media so I can keep up – but I don’t engage or participate enough to label myself as a resident.



  2. It’s really interesting to compare these engagement maps across the class, and I particularly like how you’ve included more utility-oriented technologies like news sites and library systems in yours. To what extent do you feel like a resident with sites like The Guardian and Delphis? More of your boxes stretch vertically between the personal and institutional than along the visitor/resident axis – why do you think this is? Are there any technologies you haven’t included here that you’d classify yourself as a resident with?

    Also, on the topic of engagement, moving away from creating on social media to using them primarily for consumption is something I’ve noticed in myself as well. What effect has this change had on how you view these platforms and how much time you spend with them? In my experience, it certainly seems that while I might be spending less time in a resident manner I’m still unable to escape the things!


    • Hi Xavier,

      I feel like I am a resident with The Guardian and Delphis because at the time when doing the mapping process I feel like I have used these sites a lot more than other digital services. This is because I’m in the middle of my dissertation and I like to keep up with recent news daily. I feel like the mapping process is wholly dependent on the users perception of time and I think every month-2 months I would expect my map to change.

      My personal and institutional stretched boxes are because I have established identities on Facebook at both an institutional and personal level and I use a lot of the other platforms for both research institutionally and personal use to keep up with friends.

      My view on these platforms has changed as I feel too exhausted to write everything happening in my life and naturally I don’t spend as much time on them. However like you I am still kept up to date on things through just reading and I don’t feel like I need to post a lot anymore.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Luke,

    I really liked how you structured your blog, starting off by giving coverage to prensky’s theory of digital natives and digital immigrants. Also, I was very impressed with the level of critical evaluation of the respective typologies and the explanation for why the typology posited by White and Cornu (2011) is a more appropriate measure for digital literacy. I also liked how you provided a visual representation of your digital presence by mapping your engagement of digital technologies on both an educational and personal level.

    Your level of interaction and engagement with digital platforms seems to place you within the boundaries of both categories as a resident to some extent but also as a visitor.
    What do you think has contributed to your reduced usage of digital platforms?

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog!


    • Hi Stefan

      I think that my reduced usage of digital platforms for both personal and institutional use has been because I voluntarily stepped back from using social media as a resident as I felt as though I was spending way too much time online rather than focusing than work offline. It was around the same time I was doing A-Levels and found I couldn’t focus on thinking about social media which never really turns off when your a resident on these platforms and my studies at the same time.

      Thanks for commenting!


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