Topic 1 – “Digital Visitors” VS “Digital Resident”

Even without any knowledge of the framework, we know the definitions of the following terms:

Visitor: A person who act on seeing something for a specific purpose.

Resident: A person who lives in an area on a long-term basis.

This tells us that a Digital Visitor spends little time online, and has an agenda for it. They are not bothered to create a presence on the Internet. In fact, they are somewhat fleeting, from different search engines, to different online platforms, just to complete their to-do list and leave the Internet, when things are done. They do not belong online, or on social media platforms. An example from this definition is online booking for an upcoming holiday, solely to look for flights and accommodation and afterwards, book the tickets as a goal. After achieving the goal, Digital Visitors will have no interest to stay online.

On the other hand, a Digital Resident tries to build a ‘home’ on the Internet. There will be usage of social media platforms to share information such as personal opinions, photos and conversations, making it a social space. It is therefore important for Digital Residents to have a digital identity that portrays them accurately, or the way they want themselves to be perceived. The common traits of digital residency can be found universally in bloggers. They generate content and maintain strong virtual relationships with their readers for their career. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles are common platforms where it happens.

The differentiation between the two is that Digital Residents take their involvement in the Internet a step further than Digital Visitors. As compared to the Digital Native and Digital Immigrant model, this framework shows a progressive relationship instead of a contrasting one.


Picture Source: Visitors and Residents continuum, White and Le Cornu, 2011

In my opinion, one can never be deemed a pure Digital Visitor or pure Digital Resident, for it is a continuum. There is a scale towards where one may tend.

Take myself for example, when I want to go for a holiday, I go online primarily to book for flight, accommodation and attraction tickets, therefore a Digital Visitor. The scale is then skewed when I read articles, participates in online conversations and post details about my trip. These are characteristics of a Digital Resident. Therefore, the two terms are not binary opposites, but rather a summative definition after considering both ends of the spectrum. I do know that I have a dependency on social spaces on the Web.


David S. W. & Alison L. C. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, Volume 16. Retrieved on 30th October 2015, from

White & Le Cornu. (2011). Visitors and Residents continuum. Retrieved on 30th October 2015, from

Connaway, L. S., Lanclos, D., & White, D. (2014). Evaluating online behaviors: A Visitors and Residents approach. Retrieved on 30th October 2015, from


10 thoughts on “Topic 1 – “Digital Visitors” VS “Digital Resident”

  1. The framework you have provided to your readers were very detailed, giving me a better insight on the terms Digital Visitor and Digital Resident. Also, I fully agree with you on “one can never be deemed a pure Digital Visitor or Pure Digital Resident”, along with the image of the relationship between Visitor and Resident as a progressive relationship. An individual cannot be a full Visitor because they are bound to participate in something within the Web that requires them to make a contribution to it.


  2. Hi Crystal! 🙂

    I find your article very easy to understand. You really showed clear and concise understanding of the difference between a Resident and a Visitor. Your article has showed me another point of view which i find it very interesting. I definitely agree on the point whereby it is a continuum. You’ve showed really good evidences by taking yourself as an example. Your example is totally relatable as i have booked my own flight tickets before 🙂
    Furthermore, the framework you’ve provided gave me a clearer picture on how to actually scale someone to see whether he/she is more of a digital resident or a visitor.

    Overall, you’ve done well! GOOD JOB! I am definitely taking away some new pointers after reading your post! Thank you for sharing!



    1. Thanks Yixin/Apple for your comment! 🙂

      Yes, it is truly amazing how we can book our tickets online without making a trip down to the agencies or airline companies. What a pity if these technologies are wasted.

      I enjoyed your post with your personal examples too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Crystal! :o)

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! You started off with a very brief but direct overview to what a Digital Visitor and Digital Resident means, and followed on to give very relatable and easy-to-understand examples that definitely painted a clearer picture of how these two roles differ.

    I think very good point that you made – which I feel that many of us may have overlooked, is that there isn’t a distinct role we undertake. Everyone is partly a Digital Visitor despite his/her Resident nature, and vice versa. Your take at the end of the post about both roles are but at different ends of the same spectrum, is definitely worth considering, and has aided me in exploring this topic at a more in-depth level, thank you for that! :o)


  4. Thanks Jasmine for your thoughts! 🙂

    I hope the framework did help to illustrate my point better, that the Digital Visitor and Digital Resident are two sides of the continuum, and that there is a possibility that we may be balanced, or neutral too.

    Your post has also aided me into confirming where I stand in this continuum, which I really appreciate!


  5. Hi Crystal!

    I enjoy reading your blog post on this topic as you gave a pretty clear explanation what a digital visitor and a digital resident really is! I agree how you mention Digital visitor does not “belong online, or on social media platforms” and that they have no interest to stay online and use the web to complete their to-do list such as booking tickets.

    I consider myself a Digital Visitor too!

    I also agree that a Digital Resident “builds a ‘home’ on the Internet” and have active “usage of social media platforms to share information such as personal opinions, photos and conversations, making it a social space”.

    However, I agree that “the two terms are not binary opposites, but rather a summative definition after considering both ends of the spectrum” as a digital visitor might on and off display characteristics as digital resident!

    (146 words)


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