Topic 1 : Digital “Natives”/“Visitors” and Digital  “Immigrants”/“Residents”

Before Digital Visitors and Residents came into place, there was the digital natives and immigrants. For which the natives refers to the population who were born and bred during the era of technology and the immigrants as those that existed before the happenstance. Therefore, Prensky concluded that the natives had to be tech/web savvy.

This understanding is akin to saying that if a person was born during the introduction of cars, they were to be professional drivers and those that didn’t, were bad drivers. It doesn’t show substantive evidence that age has in any relation to being professional drivers or in this case being computer competent. In fact, it is subjective to each and every person.

I was born as a “digital native” and my father was born as a “digital immigrant”, but I am not as tech savvy as he is. He teaches me how to use digital tools because he is way more literate in it than me. Why? You may ask. I say because he is interested, motivated and very engaged in technology and the internet. He spends a lot of time online exploring, utilizing and benefiting from them.

This brings me to Digital Visitors and Residents. Another distinction formed by David.S.White about the population who uses the web only for specific purposes (visitors) at specific times while the other uses it for different purposes such as entertainment, information, socializing (residents) for most of their daily lives while also building a strong presence online.

I don’t exactly see a clear line between a Digital Visitor and Resident because I often witness in – be tweens. As mentioned, my father is quite a resident because of how much time he spends online, and is very engaged in, but he doesn’t maintain an online persona. Also, he is a visitor at times, using the web only when he needs to and not when he wants to. Which, in fact I am very alike, since I spend a large amount of time online for leisure and work but I have no interest in building an identity. Thus, the categories are in many ways overlapping. In a nutshell, it really depends on an individual when it comes to being competent in a certain area, age don’t play a major role in affecting it. Rather, it’s the drive and intention of the individuals themselves.


David S White. (2011). Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. Available: Last accessed 30th Oct 2015.

Jamie Carracher. (2011). How Baby Boomers Are Embracing Digital Media. Available: Last accessed 30th Oct 2015.

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L.. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement.. Available:,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf. Last accessed 30th Oct 2015.

Lynn Connaway. (2014). Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment?. Available: Last accessed 30th Oct 2015.

Youngsters vs oldies. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 30 Oct. 2015].



  1. Chloe Tan · November 2, 2015

    Hi Stephanie! 🙂

    Your driving analogy about Prensky’s Natives/Immigrants idea is really helpful in understanding part of why his take on different users of the internet is no longer able to be used in this day and age.
    I definitely agree with your conclusion about users having different approaches towards the internet. Although we might see ourselves being on the internet all the time even not for the purposes of establishing our identities online, we may not be as proficient with the technology as older folks may be! Simply because they have that much more desire to want to understand and utilise it fully in other aspects. Also that age is not a factor at all in when we are measuring where on the Visitor-Resident spectrum a user of the internet is.
    However, I definitely think that if you don’t devote a portion of your time to substantiating your online presence, you can’t really be defined as a Resident. What do you think about this?

    Thank you for the insightful post!


    Liked by 1 person

    • stephanielimym · November 6, 2015

      Hello Chloe,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post 🙂
      I find that its quite subjective in the sense that there’s always an overlap between being a digital resident and a visitor. In the sense of building a strong online presence, I am perpetually online on Facebook because of the automated logged in setting on both my laptop and my phone. However, I rarely use my Facebook, I am inactive on it and I check my account once in a while, but people know that I am always around. I do engage with people on different medias like Skype very frequently or on twitter. But I don’t exactly have a strong online presence on Twitter even though I am quite active. No one seems to notice my tweets or take the initiative to communicate with me. So its quite confusing to say the least about being a resident = strong online presence. Even if I do reside on a particular social media networking site and I use it often, it doesn’t always translate to strong online presence.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. amandakeee · November 2, 2015

    Hello Stephanie.
    I really enjoyed your blogpost regarding your views on the differences between a digital “resident” and “visitor”. I especially enjoyed the part where you compared it to the distinction between a “digital native” and “digital immigrant”. It gave me an insight that i have previously overlooked and i have to say that your post has changed my views on the possibilities of cross-mixing these categories.

    It is true that many people that are “digital immigrants” are far more tech savvy than we are (the digital natives) and all it takes is the willingness to learn and pick up a new skill. Also, not everyone is comfortable with being open and honest on the web, even if they are born as a “digital native”.

    Thank you for the new and interesting insight (-:

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephanielimym · November 6, 2015

      Hello Amanda,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post 🙂
      I am glad my views on the differences between digital native and digital immigrant have given you a clearer concept on the categories, as well as the misconception drawn out by Prensky.

      Cheers !

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. pomegranategardener · November 2, 2015

    Hi Stephanie,
    I’m amused by the analogy which has substantiated the drawback of Prensky’s theory with few simple sentences. Prensky identifies the learning of technological skills akin to learning a language. Therefore in an Immigrant’s case, it is as though that he is mastering a foreign language and thus is expected to face much difficulties; compared to a Native which is born in the era of digital world.

    The transfer of learning from your Dad however indicates that one may be equally competent and comfortable regardless of perhaps uncontrollable factors (i.e. age). In concurrence with your stand, there are many similar examples that show how age has little correlation with the digital knowledge of an individual.

    Indeed, “Digital Residents vs. Visitors” will be a better alternative in explaining the relationship between the digital space and the individuals. I understand that you are relatively a Digital Visitor. However, will you like to share your personal thoughts on what determines that (i.e. Factors/Motivators that make you choose to be a visitor rather than a resident)?

    An interesting read!


    • stephanielimym · November 6, 2015

      Hello Yishin,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post 🙂
      I would actually say I am both a digital resident and digital visitor. I reside on the net and will regularly engage with people on particular social media platforms like twitter or skype but I don’t exactly have a strong online presence. Also, I am occasionally a digital visitor when I have a research to carry out for an assignment, an online discussion to be part of or for other specific purposes. Also, visitors don’t really get involved in socializing over the net because of the hassle. It becomes a major factor for most visitors to not socialize online, because of the need to log into a website just to communicate with another people or learn about their updates on their lifestyles, as well as providing theirs. Sometimes I feel that there’s absolutely no need for others to learn about what I am doing now or who I am spending with. So i don’t bother investing my time on these platforms because I feel that no one is interested in knowing what I am doing.


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