Are you a ‘resident’ or ‘visitor’ ?


This is my face when I scroll through my mum’s Facebook and realized how happening her profile page is. (so many more ‘likes’ and comments than me!)

As a young adult living in a developed country, I consider myself as a digital native. I grew up with technology and it comes naturally to me whenever I have to pick up something new about the digital world.

My mum was not immersed in technology at a very early age but her participation on multiple social media platforms has shown that she is able to adapt to the digital environment. Unlike my mum, my dad does not post anything online ever or much less own a Facebook account.

So who is the digital ‘resident’ or ‘visitor’ here?

Digital ‘residents’ are people who incorporates the online world as part of their lifestyle. Other than online banking and shopping services, they often use the web for other purposes such as socializing and expressing themselves. They spend time establishing relationships with others and are likely to believe that they ‘belong’ to a community located in the virtual world. These residents are very visible online and often maintains a persona which they use to share information about their life and work. They view the web as a source for valuable content, ideas and a worthwhile place to put forward an opinion.

Digital ‘visitors’ on the other hand, are people who use to web to complete a certain task like booking air tickets or  research a specific subject. Once the task is completed, they go offline and return to other tasks rather than staying on the web. They choose to be anonymous and do not see a need to maintain an identity or presence. Most visitors are concern about privacy issues and skeptical about the activities online.

There is a common misconception that the younger population are predominantly made up of ‘residents’ and the older population are mostly ‘visitors’. While this seems to be a trend, it actually has nothing to do with one’s age or gender but more on their motivation to engage. My mum is a perfect example to prove this fact. She is reaching 50 but is as passionate about the online culture like many youths my age!

Knowing the characteristics of both, which one are you? Feel free to share your thoughts. 🙂


David White. 2008. TALL blog » Blog Archive » Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2015].

David White. 2015. Visitors & Residents | Digital – Learning – Culture. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 October 15].

David S. White and Alison Le Cornu. 2011. Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 October 15].

2 thoughts on “Are you a ‘resident’ or ‘visitor’ ?

  1. Hi Vanna!
    I can totally relate to you as my dad has more Facebook friends than me and he is the one that knows about all the trending videos before I do!
    I agree with you as well that the population of ‘residents’ and ‘visitors’ has nothing to do with age or gender and it is all about one’s motivation whether to engage or not. Like your mum, my dad was born in an era where computer was a luxury and a thing of the future yet when time came, he took the initiative to learn all about the internet and social media. I believe he can be classified as a more digital ‘resident’ than myself!


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