The idea of Digital Visitors and Digital Residents is a concept, which until recently I was unfamiliar. It places each individual on a scale from a “visitor” to a “resident” (White & Cornu, 2011). A “visitor” is described as someone who is unlikely to have an online profile where they post about their lives and often don’t become involved in social networking as they often believe there needs to be a benefit from using technology. On the opposite end of the spectrum are “residents” who view the Web as a community that they are a part of. They are often happy where “visitors” wouldn’t be to express themselves online and often have some sort of identity that is created online through social media, blog posts and comments. It is possible in this framework of visitor or resident to be somewhere in the middle, perhaps closer to one end of the scale than the other. This framework doesn’t close people into two different groups where theories in the past have.
Until a few years ago I would have been described as a “visitor.” I didn’t have any social media set up, as I didn’t see much point in it. I could phone or talk to my friends and family so why did I need Facebook or Twitter to tell me what’s going on in their lives? After many questions about my views on social media from my friends and family I set up a Facebook profile. This was when I started to see the advantages of digital media. It became easier for me to talk to friends and family in other countries, it was always reliable and up to me on how much I wanted the world to see of my profile. I became a lot more involve in what was going on through group pages and online chats and once starting university I found that people who I met shared mutual friends with me despite not having gone to the same school/university or live in the same area. I also benefitted from news and articles that people had read which they posted online that widened my views on various subjects and meant that I was learning on a space that I had once believed not possible and also on a space where I had not placed learning as an intention.
Having now become more involved in social media as part of my university course work I am already seeing the benefits of the Web for not only looking up certain subjects online but also getting a perspective from others through social media. This form of working together online and collaborating on ideas is very beneficial for learning and demonstrates how technology can enhance education and an individuals learning intentions when they go online.
Being digitally savvy in the 21st century is something which is important because of the lack of escape from technology that many people are now involved in as Erik Qualman stated “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how well we do it.” Part of learning online includes learning how not to be overloaded with information that is available but also to focus your attention on what is important and significant from what is accessible. This is not only important in education but also in business and social life. The Web is an integral part of our society today and whether we like it or not “Future of the culture depends on how well we learn to use the media” (Rheingold, 2012).
Qualman, E. (Erik Qualman). (2014, April 16). #Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman (Video file) Retrieved from http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zxpa4dNVd3c
Rheingold, H. (2012). Introduction: Why You Need Digital Know-How—Why We All Need It. In Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).