I came across this tweet a few hours ago:
— Wesley Fryer, Ph.D. (@wfryer) May 15, 2014
I have predominantly been operating under the model of digital natives and digital immigrants, but it had been grating on me a bit as of late, so I clicked through on the first link. This introduced me to David White’s concept of visitors and residents. It certainly illustrates how people exist online based on their motivations. Visitors are there to meet a goal – the Internet, particularly social media, is a toolbox and they select what they need for as much as they need it, then move on. Residents see the Internet as an extension of the physical world around them; it is a space instead of a tool. It’s definitely worth the 20 min it takes to watch the video. As an advocate for technology in the classroom and a coach for my peers, the ideas in this video help me to see motivations for people to use the Internet and how they come to have spaces instead of tools.
After watching the video and processing for a while, I had to go back and track down the tweet. I realized there was a second link there that I needed to follow through: Mapping the Internet. Here, Dean Shareski shares a mapping exercise to show social media services that he uses. Along the x-axis Dean inserts the visitor-resident spectrum and along the y-axis a personal-institutional (professional/work) spectrum. Using this plane, he maps out various social media sites to show which sites he uses for what purpose (personal vs professional).
This is an interesting idea. When I find some time (cop-out alert), I want to do this for both where I’m currently at and my ideal. It might help me as I think about my on online presence and where I’d like it to be someday.
While thinking about and exploring these ideas a bit tonight, I see strong ties to digital citizenship as the visitor-resident concept both assume some level of interaction online. More specifically, both have people leaving a digital footprint. A resident is likely to have a broader and deeper print than a visitor, but there will be one all the same. David talks briefly about the idea of a personal brand, which is tied heavily into how you manage your footprint and represent yourself as a citizen.
I wonder about joining the native-immigrant and visitor-resident models to create a plane instead of a linear spectrum. I have students who have grown up in this digital world, who are highly ept about their Internet use as a series of tools but don’t consider it an extension of their physical space. I think about my students who have these enormous online spaces that they’ve eked out for themselves but have very little concept of ownership over their space and have very little concept of how to use the tools. I also think about the people I know in the EdTech world who have been there longer than I have (ie: digital immigrants) but have created a space and tools. There’s the other case of the digital immigrants who are visitors; I think many of them are cautious but will take on new tools as they need them. The visitor-resident model does a good job of explaining why people use the Internet and the native-immigrant model does a better job of explaining who these people are. I’m not sure if the “who” matters more than the “why”, but it seems that it should be important. Possibly, given that that it has implications for a digital footprint due to how long the footprint lasts – a youth will likely spend many more years online than an adult. I would also think that youth are more likely to seek out a digital space for themselves, highlighting the importance of the work around digital citizenship.
It’s late and I’ve shifted into train-of-thought writing, so I should call it a night. Besides, I have more thinking to do about this. Let’s hope I remember to write it down.