Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement


  • David S. White University of Oxford
  • Alison Le Cornu University of Oxford



Visitors, Residents, Typology, Engagement


This article proposes a continuum of ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ as a replacement for Prensky’s much‐criticised Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Challenging the basic premises upon which Prensky constructed his typology, Visitors and Residents fulfil a similar purpose in mapping individuals’ engagement with the Web. We argue that the metaphors of ‘place’ and ‘tool’ most appropriately represent the use of technology in contemporary society, especially given the advent of social media. The Visitors and Residents continuum accounts for people behaving in different ways when using technology, depending on their motivation and context, without categorising them according to age or background. A wider and more accurate representation of online behaviour is therefore established.

Author Biographies

David S. White, University of Oxford

Co-manager of Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford.

Alison Le Cornu, University of Oxford

Freelance educational consultant.




How to Cite

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).