Visitors & Residents: 3D model

While reading Visitors & Residents: A new typology for online engagement (White & Le Cornu, 2011), I was struck by the fact that given context, my use of “tools” plots me in different “places” as a Visitor or Resident. Rather than seeing ourselves in binary, as Digital Natives or Migrants, which isn’t at all helpful, and to better understand how Visitor and Resident operate, and do so based on tool and context. To understand this better I needed to visualize it as a 3D box using three axes:

    • Social Presence (Place) (x axis): Visitor to Resident (left and right sides respectively)
    • Motivation and Context (y axis): Professional to Personal (top and bottom sides respectively)
    • Levels of Access and Technical Skills (z axis): Low access and lowly adept to High access and highly adept (front and back sides respectively)


I then plotted my tool use within this box to assist me in evaluating my tool use in “place”.


All of my tools are against the back side indicating high access and technical skills, with the exception of Instagram which I would like to learn a bit more about so I positioned a bit in front.

I use WordPress professionally as a web developer and I’ve used Brightspace (D2L, UM Learn) professionally and now as a student so they’re in the top. I use both the create content and leave digital footprint which positions them firmly on the right. So: high access and skill, professional usage and resident.

Facebook is primarily used for social interaction and personal use so the bottom right.

I use Twitter and Google for a mix of professional and personal use, but I compose and retweet Tweets so it’s to the right where as Google is to the left for conducting research, and gathering and analyzing analytics.


Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors & Residents: A new typology for online engagement. Retrieved from:


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
This entry was posted in Digital Natives & Migrants, Visitors & Residents and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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