The concept of digital “visitors” and “residents” originally seemed like a new concept that I was unaware of. Through my readings and research I found I was more aware of the subject and began to draw connections to my own life.
Prensky (2001) defines digital “residents” or “immigrants” as a set of people who are learning and developing their online skills. As these “immigrants” do not immerse themselves in modern technologies they do not necessarily possess the skills that are increasingly being brought to the forefront of daily life. Prensky also discussed how these “immigrants” may have an “accent”. This accent demonstrates that they’re still not completely sold by the internet and may instead choose to use other reference materials to gain knowledge.
The concept of a digital “visitor” was also described by Prensky as being someone who is constantly present in technology. These “natives” are also seen not to have an “accent” but to be a “native speaker”. Much like natives in other aspects of life they pick up new skills and norms quicker than immigrants do as many were born into and surrounded by the internet.
In my own life I can relate to the concept of “visitors” and “residents”. I am constantly logged into forms of social media such as Facebook and my first instinct when searching for information is to Google the question. I am aware of other people however who were not born in an era where technology was so readily available and they simply use the internet as a method of gaining quick information or to compete a task. These people may also find themselves using the internet as a second or third option to resources such as books or asking for advice. White & Cornu (2011) made the metaphor of online “visitors” using the internet as an “untidy garden tool shed” where they occasionally visit to help them with a problem or project. This is the opposite of a resident who is constantly engaged with the internet.
Overall although I agree with the idea that some people are more involved with the internet than others I think it is important to realise that although someone is considered a “resident” it does not mean they are fluent in every online skill. Therefore there are different levels of “visitor” and “resident” so it is not correct to brand everyone with one of the two labels.
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White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).
Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1, On the Horizon, 9 (5), pp. 1-6