Visitor-Resident Mapping

As I stare at my blank, hand-drawn tension-pair map (White & Le Cornu, 2011), I find myself reflecting on my digital identity. After some time, I am able to finish the activity, but not before reflecting on the act itself: it is complicated. I know it shouldn’t be, but it is painstaking.

I manage to transfer my perceptions onto my drawing using pencil and paper, nothing fancy. It’s greyscale. I choose grey because the complexity of colour is too intricate a detail to deconstruct. I move things around just enough to make it capture me. There are no compartments, I can’t be compartmentalized. I want it to look like water, because I want to believe I am fluid, not fixed.

Here’s where I get stuck: When do we consider the factors that contribute to the typologies presented? Before, after, during? What about time: do we reconstruct a new map every so many years? How about context: do we reconstruct a new map for every career change?

In 2021, is my digital identity separate from my personal identity? When I participate in this act, and log my engagement in digital spaces, am I not fully participating? I wonder if our modes of behaviour are extrinsic to our identity politics. I wonder how much we are performing (Cover, 2012), and how much we are authentic in these spaces, and to what degree this affects our placement.

Whether I like it or not, I am pegged down onto this spectrum in one way or another.

And I suppose that’s the point.

“There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”  -T. S. Eliot



White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011, September 5). View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement: First Monday. View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement | First Monday.

Cover, R. (2012). Performing and undoing identity online: social networking, identity theories and the incompatibility of online profiles and friendship regimes. Convergence18(2), 177–193.

Eliot, T. S. (n.d.). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. Poetry Foundation.

8 thoughts on “Visitor-Resident Mapping”

  1. Angela – Thanks for sharing! The fact that you have WhatsApp in two locations highlights the limitations of this exercise or better yet, this amplifies the fact that context is essential in considering one’s relationship to a tool/space. I also don’t believe that you, or any of us, are pegged down. I see this a snapshot of what is and not an indicator of what will be. Who knows… maybe you’ll engage more on twitter and see yourself as more of a resident in that space some day.

  2. Hi Angela,
    I love your map and your reflection. Two things in particular stood out:
    1) Your comment that you wanted your map to look like water, because you are fluid, not fixed. YES!
    2) You wrote “I wonder how much we are performing and how much we are authentic in these spaces, and to what degree this affects our placement.” I agree whole-heartedly.
    How can we best differentiate between performance and authenticity in digital spaces? Is it possible for us to develop norms and protocols for when it is more appropriate to perform, versus when it is more appropriate to be authentic?
    Thank you for your sincere and honest reflection. We have so much to look forward to discussing!
    – Amber

    1. Hi Amber,
      I realize I took it a bit far, but I am happy to be engaging with the content! Thank you for sharing, we do have a lot to look forward to!


  3. Thanks for sharing your experience, Angela. You’ve posted some interesting questions regarding how often and under what context to re-visit or reconstruct our map. While working through this exercise, I learned that my use of technology changed significantly over the past year. Although I didn’t change jobs, the pandemic caused a significant change in how I perform my role. I was aware of the shift in my use of technology, however, this provided an informative review of the tools most often used while examining time spent on less productive and time-consuming practices. This was an eye-opening exercise and a valuable checkpoint that I will aim to implement periodically.

    1. Hi Maria,
      I like the way you phrased the way you look at the tools you use most often, as an examination of time spent. I think you’re right to consider time in the way we use tools in various contexts, it provides a good contrast versus how we use the spaces.
      Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Angela,
    Thank you, thank you for sharing. Your map and your words breath authenticity in the subtle shades of movement and interaction, as well as acknowledgement of complexity, discomfort, and even uncertainty. I am embracing opportunities to respectfully challenge and even disagree with some of the concepts we explore, and am grateful to find a kindred learner colleague.

    1. Hi Alisha,
      It is not always easy, and I am only now truly learning how to accept this, but our authenticity truly allows for growth. I am so very happy to hear that some of what I said resonated with you, and I can tell you we are not alone! I was fortunate to have some time yesterday to pop in to the Cascadia Open Education Summit and found affirmation in many unexpected ways, which was liberating. Liberating. I will have to spend a bit of time organizing my thoughts, and when I do, I will post something with respect to the various shifts taking place in learning.
      Thank you so much for your post!

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