Digital natives and immigrants vs residents and visitors

18 09 2008

Thanks to Andy Paul of e-foundations for pointing me towards Dave White’s piece on online user types, Not ‘natives’ and ‘immigrants’ but ‘vistors’ and residents’ , which posits an alternative distinction to that of digital native/ digital immigrant when classifying how people use the internet. He describes a ‘resident’ as ‘an individual who lives a percentage of their life online. The web supports the projection of their identity and facilitates relationships’, while a ‘visitor’ is ‘an individual who uses the web as a tool in an organised manner whenever the need arises.’ It’s a useful distinction and easier to understand than the ‘native/immigrant’ divide. I think I fall somewhere between the two, something which applies to White’s suggestion that educational institutions should use approaches that suit both ‘residents’ and ‘vistors’ when providing online services.