Topic 1: Reflection

Although Topic 1 was about us dipping our toes into the blogging water, it had a great impact on me. At first I was more focused on creating a clear image of what “digital residents” and “digital visitors” are. I read through Prensky’s, Le Cornu, and White’s papers so I could understand their theories. What I came to realise was that the hard part was not the research, but the self-evaluation. Applying the theories you read about, to yourself and seeing how you fit the picture.

Judging from other blog posts, many people had difficulty pin-pointing where exactly they lie on the resident- visitor continuum. Annaclaregrace mentioned that she views herself more as a resident than a visitor as well, but for reasons different to mine. I found it quite funny how two people can reach similar conclusions about themselves but through completely different means.

Regarding the digital literacy of the older generation, Sam posed a very good question about the LinkedIn statistics I presented. Why? Such a simple question, yet one that I wouldn’t have thought about if it weren’t for Sam. He made me think why people my age group do not seem to make as much use of LinkedIn as 30-49 year olds. The answer I could come up with, is because our age group perhaps lacks the tools to take full advantage of this specific online platform.

But it is moments like this, when I truly believe in having an online presence, or “being an online resident” –call it what you like. People have the opportunity to exchange ideas, and generate new ones. At the end of the day, I believe that labelling ourselves as “residents” or “visitors” is redundant. The point is to utilise the tools we have, e.g. the web, and expand our knowledge.

My comments:

The online world: are you staying or visiting?

Whilst Prensky (2001) initiated a stimulating debate on digital literacy and whether it is innate or learned, his opinions are rather absolute. He refers to the Net Generation as “digital natives”, whereas the older generation is referred to as “digital immigrants”. According to Prensky, “digital natives” were born into the digital era and experienced a variety of technologies from the onset of their lives. Conversely, “digital immigrants” have had to adapt by learning how to integrate new technologies into their pre-existing, non-digital lives.

Nonetheless, following some speculation, it becomes evident that digital familiarization is more appropriately viewed as a continuum rather than a “two-category” distinction based on time of birth. The online world is a gigantic network of digital platforms which serve different purposes. A young adult who is accustomed to online social networks, does not automatically possess the proficiency of using the web for learning or professional advancement purposes. Similarly, a senior person who is not accustomed to online social networks, may still be computer literate and use the web as a tool for his or her professional career. For example, during 2014 LinkedIn was primarily used by 30-49 year olds, with 65+ year olds using it almost as much as 18-29 year olds (Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, & Madden, 2015).


Thus, the simplistic terms used by Prensky are more suitably represented by the terms “digital residents” and “digital visitors” (White & Le Cornu, 2011).

White and Le Cornu (2011) argue that “digital residents” spend a substantial portion of their lives online. They regularly update their digital persona whilst interacting with others in their online community. On the other hand, “digital visitors” view the web primarily as a means to an end. They log on with a specific task in mind and they do not have digital identities.

Personally, I find it hard to put myself in one particular category. After some self-reflecting, I concluded that I am in this vicinity:


I believe I resemble more of a “digital resident” due to the fact that I use the web professionally, academically, and recreationally. However, I usually allocate a specific time for using the web, rather than sitting down at a screen to maintain my presence at any time during the day, which resembles the “digital visitor”. This is why a continuum is a more appropriate means of evaluation, as people may lie somewhere in between “digital residents” and “digital visitors”.


Duggan, M., Ellison, N., Lampe, A., & Madden, M. (2015). Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved 8 February 2016, from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On The Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

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