Visitors and Residents, what define them ?

Visitors see the internet as a box of tool to achieve their goal. They didn’t leave any trace of their appearance, such as expression of opinions or having any ‘digital identity’. It is not because they are not technically adapted but they are more focused. It could be the individual have a great network offline that they did not need any additional online community. Visitors act based on their goal is to solve their problem so they will chose the appropriate tool and sign off. In educational aspect, most visitor’s ideology saw internet as a pool of information to pick up information. Social media and others have nothing to do with learning journey.

While Residents could be said as the next level of engagement. They perceive web as a part of their life and social space. They have community, create relationship and have a sense of ‘belonging’. They share part of their life journey on web by using social media. They also tend to expressing their-self on web. However, it does not means residents are using internet more efficient and effective than visitors.

Visitor and Residents are a term to define our engagement with the web. Visitor and residents term cover the native and immigrant term which define the engagement by age and skill or academic and technical. It is defined by the culture and motivation of the web user.

How individuals use the platform depends on the context and how they manage it. A proportion of user might use web primarily as visitor or primarily as resident. Other spectrum is using web as visitor and resident depends on the occasion and I am one of it. In doing my study or searching for information, I’m using web as a visitor. My aim is to gain reliable information or help me to do some task, once it’s accomplished I’ll sign off. While for personal life, I’m using web as a residents. Mostly for social media. Namely Facebook, twitter, Instagram, blog, and YouTube. Quite often I leave some comments to show support, opinions, or simply to say hi.

Not all platforms are designed equally, some of them are designed to be used as resident. Using it as visitor will prevent us to get the value of the platform. Another spectrum is educational, recently education move to collaborating web into the syllabus. One of the example is our online module that collaborates different platform and social media. During this module, students should use resident approach to get the most of it.

References :

White, D. (2008). Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. Tall Blog, University of Oxford.

White,D. (2009). Visitors and Residents : the videos. Tall Blog, University of Oxford.

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


7 thoughts on “Visitors and Residents, what define them ?

  1. Greetings Silviana, I agree with the idea residents are just visitors with a higher level of engagement where they find a sense of purpose and sense of belonging on the net.
    However, did you wonder mapping out our online activities to categories them better? Let’s imagine it as a graph with X and Y axis, on the left extreme of X axis is Visitor the right extreme is Resident, on the Y axis, top is Personal, the bottom is Work / Educational.
    This way we can better position the online activities such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, WordPress and more into the graph to see exactly which activities is more inclined to which side of the graph.
    I like how you say some platforms are designed more for a digital visitor or resident use, I can relate it as some of the government online web tool for taxation are purely for visitors purpose and snapchat would probably just be for residents as it is a culture to use it.

    Cheers to more good post for the further topics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Easter, thanks for your comment 🙂
      Yup i agree i should have done digital mapping to get a better insight and reflect how i use digital platforms in my daily life. i have create my digital mapping and post it under my reflective summary, do take a look and feel free to leave some comment ! 🙂 . During writing my reflective summary, i realized the way i use my digital platforms is evolving. I’m quite confused to determined whether i use facebook as visitor or resident as i’m not using it anymore but i leave my trace there. What’s ur opinion on this ? and do the way you use your digital platforms also evolving ?


  2. Hello Silviana! Interesting topic 😉 I realized that, like you, I’ve traits of both Visitors and Residents depending on my motive of a situation.

    You brought up a good opinion with the last part where you mentioned that not all platforms are equally designed. However I’ve mixed feelings about this. I do agree that the approach we use may not maximize efficiency of the platform it was meant to be, an example I thought of is Online Forums.
    Which result me in the following thoughts: But as a task-oriented Visitor’s perspective, they do get the information they need, which is the only thing they focused on? They aren’t bothered by social features of that particular platform unlike the Residents. So is maximizing the platform really of importance to them as a Visitor? What do you think? 😊

    Overall, it’s a good read, and I enjoyed it, keep them coming! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jierun, thanks for your comment :))
      In my opinion how the platform function is maximized is depends on the individual needs. Visitor and resident needs are different. Visitor’s need is to reach their goal like surfing for information. When the platform could cater all the information needed. The function of the platform would be maximized. However, it is a different case for residents as they need to express their opinion and they want to create relationship. Only serving them them information is not sufficient. The critical point is to designed your platform to cater their needs and ease of navigation to allow them access it easily. Does my response answer your question ?
      ps. i do read your blogpost and i think you have done a great job too :))

      Liked by 1 person

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