The Digital Age: Residents Vs Visitors

​The modern digital age bestows upon us countless of blessings, from shrinking the world into a few clicks, allowing me to communicate with attractive girls from different continents easily (#blessed), and providing information so vast that anyone could learn about anything literally anywhere with an internet connection. The line between the internet as a tool and a place is increasingly blurred, and I will discuss my take on the concept of digital “visitors” and “residents”.

My life pretty much revolves around the web. You’re now probably reading this post on my blog online, and here you can already see how I’ve used an online social platform to express my opinions on a matter. As a graphic designer, my most significant use of the internet is regularly spending time on sites such as Behance, Dribbble, and Freelancer, to view the works of other designers from all over the world and communicate with like-minded people, sometimes earning myself a client/job in the process, as well as to post my works online as a self-branding tool. Running an online website myself, the internet is where I sell myself, and also the place that I go for acquiring something I need. I am a digital resident; the internet is where my digital presence resides, and where I form relationships with others and widen my network. (White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L., 2011)

My mother on the other hand, lives her happily retired life as a social butterfly. Her typical daily routine involves spending time together with friends or sisters shopping or having a meal together outside. With her closest of friends meeting up with her frequently, my mother doesn’t have an active Facebook profile or Instagram account that is constantly updated; her presence is more evident IRL than on URLs. Whenever she requires something such as finding recipes, looking for information of retail outlets, or booking flight tickets, the internet is her go-to place. Her phone has apps that cater to her needs right at her fingertips, and thankfully as a tech-savvy person, she doesn’t bother me with questions (giggles). My mother is therefore a digital visitor; using the web as a tool to achieve certain goals, and not as a member of the web. (White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L., 2011)

Having read some academic writings that reciprocates my own understanding of this topic, I firmly support the argument that the dichotomy of digital natives and digital immigrants are out of date, and that categorizing us as digital residents or digital immigrants is a more accurate approach, appropriate when considering which technologies to provide for online learners in an educational context.

[Word count: 438]


White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9)


16 thoughts on “The Digital Age: Residents Vs Visitors

  1. brendenlim says:

    Hi Shafiq, excellent take on the discussion of digital residents and digital visitors. I found your examples for both ends of the spectrum to be of great help in further understanding the how the characteristics different from each other. I have also noticed that you are able to efficiently make your way around the net, and even managing acquiring jobs from it. This also shows your competence with managing and acquiring of information on the web which not necessarily be true for all digital residents. I also agree with your point on the need to consider the different technologies for both ends of the spectrum when it comes to their educational needs.

    i myself is am a digital resident but I don’t think I am closer to the further end of the spectrum compared to you. It is interesting to see how you have adapted to the web and is making full use of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. uosmogan says:

    Hey Shafiq,
    It was a pleasant read about your life and those around you to briefly describe your digital life as a resident and your mum social life as a visitor. They are good representatives that explains well the idea of the two terms ‘digital residents and visitors’. However, I have written on my post that age is not a factor to categorise the people into the named classification. Therefore, the misconception can confuse readers if they lack the knowledge of this topic.
    I’ve attached a link to my post at the bottom of this comment. I hope we can share further information and understanding with regards to this topic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. huiju4n says:

    Yes, Shafiq! I think online is a great platform for personal branding, and to network and learn from others too. You get to discover and link up with like-minded people (and *attractive girls* LOL) which is so amazing! I’m curious though – if you have ever encountered anyone whom you thought were an ideal person to work with because of their online personality and the work they present online but got terribly disappointed after meeting them IRL because they turn out to be different from what they seem to be online?

    Indeed, categorizing online users as residents and visitors is more accurate as it focuses on users’ behaviors and motivation. But to make better decisions on which technologies to use to deliver learning, I think there is a lot more to explore about users who are in-between the visitor-resident continuum, and that demographics could be useful and taken into consideration too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. angelinelkx says:

    Hi Shafiq,

    What an interesting blog post!

    I like the way you describe digital ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ in your personal life. It provided me clarity on these two concepts, allowing me to relate it to my personal life as well.

    I do agree that the discussion on the web as a tool or place is hotly debated. In this modernized century, it makes more sense to categorize individuals as digital residents or visitors. Technology plays an extremely important role in our lives, and the web is an essential platform. I can see how it is vital even for your retired mother who uses the web to search for information for her daily life. My parents also rely heavily on the web but I am not as lucky as you, my parents are not tech-savvy! It gets rather tricky trying to explain to them certain functions and features of the web.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. nicolng says:

    Fuyoh! This guy’s post is like his mustache. Damn popular sia!

    Hello Shafiq,

    A unique and interesting way of using a personal relation in approaching this concept. Yes, I too feel the ‘Native & Immigrant’ concept is definitely outdated. You have a very clear take on the difference of a ‘Visitor’ and ‘Resident’. As a former design student myself, I agree the use of those platforms certainly brings about a wider perspective to be able to share your works and ideas. However, unlike you, I would categorize myself in between the spectrum of a resident and visitor. Hopefully, by the end of this module, I can confidently embrace the Web like yourself and become a ‘Digital Resident’? Great job on the post!



  6. Vivian T. says:

    Shafiq’s concept of digital ‘visitors’ and ‘residents’ was interesting because of the personal examples he provided, at the same time he was effective in being able to clearly differentiate between the two separate behaviours.

    To add on to Shafiq’s points above, having clear distinguishable ideas of what both digital visitors and residents are will be critical to the success of any company in the near future. Knowing who are their customers and their purposes will enable the company to better design their website to the targeted consumers, resulting in an increase of traffic online, eventually leading to sustainable growth for the company.


  7. Nobusato says:

    Hey Shafiq, it was a great blog post.
    Your concept of Digital “Residents and Visitors” was clearly defined and put forth in a very engaging manner as illustrated by practical examples. This is especially so when you did a comparison between yourself, the younger generation and your mom, the older generation.. I also concur with Vivian’s comments, that such a concept would pave the way for a company to cater to their target customers by developing a website that addresses their needs, thereby allowing a differential advantage to be created. This would then result in excellent customer service which in turn is likely to generate sustainable growth and profits. I am inspired by your thoughts! 🙂


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