Explain the concepts of digital “visitors” and “residents” drawing upon your own online experiences to date…

“Visitors and Residents is a simple way of describing the range of ways individuals can engage with the Web”(Themes, 2014). It is a way of grouping together people by the way people use the internet. The majority of people that use the internet tend to be both residents and visitors however most often at different times. Although there are people that can be only visitors and only residents and also people that can be a visitor and resident at the same time.

A visitor is someone who goes online to complete or carry out a particular task that they need or want to do. While being a visitor, a person tends to have no online presence. They see the web as a tool that is purely for the use of completing these tasks or at least making some progress from using the platform. An example of when you may be a visitor could be when you go online to research a particular topic. This is something that most students like myself tend to do regularly. One having done this, a lot of visitors may then go offline or goon to carry out another task. For example, checking emails or going on youtube.

A resident is someone who goes online with the intention to to connect to other people. This is all about having a social presence through social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. While being a resident, a person tends to behave with a certain amount of social visibility which therefore leaves a social trace. For example this could be tweeting, leaving comments on Facebook posts or even sending snapchats. Personally, i have the biggest social presence on Instagram out of all my social media accounts as it has a layout and features that really appeal to me. In addition to that, it is one of the sites that most of my friends would also use the most and so this is why i would use it more. Therefore this links back to the idea of being a resident as it is all about connecting with people and so Instagram is personally where i can connect with the most people.

Being a visitor and resident can overlap and so to conclude with something that may bring a better understanding on these concepts i have included this diagram which shows how online presence can range from visitor to resident but also from personal to institutional. vr-hea-cr_0.jpg

Higher Education Academy’s challenges of residency project
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and, D.W.S. (2012) ‘Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement’, First Monday, 16(9). Available at :http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049
Themes, C. (2014) Visitors & residents. Available at: http://daveowhite.com/vandr/ (Accessed: 12 February 2017).
Visitors and residents (2014) Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/evaluating-digital-services/visitors-and-residents (Accessed: 12 February 2017).

3 thoughts on “Explain the concepts of digital “visitors” and “residents” drawing upon your own online experiences to date…”

  1. Very insightful blog Cherie! I found your work very easy to read and your blog as a whole is coming along nicely. You integrated images well and they helped to establish the points that you made. It is interesting that you consider yourself more of a resident on Instagram than any other social media platform. Why do you believe you tend to invest more time on this website than any other? I personally would consider myself more of a resident on Twitter than Instagram due to the amount I interact with the wider world.

    If I were to be hypercritical, you could have explained and elaborated slightly more on the concept of ‘Personal’ and ‘Institutional’ as a part of the model, but overall a very concise and well thought out blog.


  2. Hi Cherie,

    I would challenge your opening statement that the Visitors and Residents concept is ‘simple’ and presents a ‘range’ of online approaches. I consider it to be a complex metaphor which describes two opposing ends of a broad spectrum of approaches. I would also be wary of stating that the concept is about ‘grouping [people] together’, because I think the opposite is in fact true: the Natives and Immigrants theory rather narrow-mindedly attempted to categorise online users by generation and I would argue that one of White’s aims with the Visitors and Residents theory is to try and resist basic categorisation of individuals.

    I enjoyed reading your extended Visitor and Resident descriptions with personal examples to aid your explanations. I think Instagram is an interesting case study because of its current popularity. Why is a heavily visual/image-based network so popular among the socially Resident do you think? What might this say about society and culture? (Perhaps that it is materially obsessed).

    Overall great engaging post!




  3. […] Interacting with other students on the course really brought the topic to life. The process of reading and commenting on a range of blog posts provided me with a richer understanding of the digital Visitors and Residents concept. This led me to form my own opinions and challenge some of the statements in Cherie’s blog. […]


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