Resident VS Visitor Mapping – Defining my Digital Presence

It was an enlightening experience to research my digital identity. Determining the difference between resident and visitor forced me to differentiate between where my presence merely exists, vs where I am truly visible to those outside of my small network. Prior to this exercise I considered myself to have a relatively small digital presence. Now, I know that I have a large digital presence, but the manner in which I engage with each platform is, in my opinion, what defines my presence as a visitor vs a resident.

I have a Facebook profile, but have only 5 friends. I do not have a twitter account, but like to read political tweets across the world, and now tweets from others in the MALAT program. Similarly, I utilize online banking, Netflix, podcasting apps and more, but merely from a visitor perspective as my transactions or viewing history are not “public”. I do not have an identity on these platforms that is visible to the world and easily searchable.

In contrast, I have a publically accessible Instagram page that I use to document the coming and goings of my life, an AirBNB profile where I have been publically ranked as a visitor and a host, and a LinkedIn profile that is available to other users. I consider myself to be a resident in these environments as they shape the presence I have, or the impression that others may have of me online.

I am looking forward to seeing how my MALAT cohort has chosen to define and categorize their digital presence(s).

8 thoughts on “Resident VS Visitor Mapping – Defining my Digital Presence”

  1. I love the use of icons on your map, Paula! Although you’ve identified the specific quadrant for each application, do you find your engagement of any of these networks blurring the line between personal and institutional use?

    1. Hi Jolee! Thank you so much for commenting. You ask an interesting question. I do often find that the lines blur in certain platforms. For example, while I don’t really use Facebook from a personal standpoint, I do use it occasionally for work to screen candidates. Similarly, I use my work email to keep in touch with my family, simply because I check it more. I hadn’t considered the cross-functional usage of these platforms, so I think I will go in and edit it based on your question! All in all, I found this assignment to be very revealing, particularly when you think of areas in which we have a defined social presence vs where we simply use a platform as a “visitor”. I look forward to reviewing your map.

  2. Great post and visual, Paula! I am curious to hear your thoughts on being more “searchable”. According to your explanation, you prefer to keep both your personal and professional life quite hidden online (minus your active presence on Instagram).
    In today’s increasingly tech-saturated world, having a strong digital presence can help an individual stay relevant in their industry, can build their credibility, and open up new career or job opportunities. Of course, having a masters degree from Royal Roads University will lend us all a sort of official-ness to our credentials, but as Catherine Cronin pointed out in her 2017 Virtual Symposium recording, in today’s world, although it is risky, we need a voice and agency so we can co-create culture and knowledge. Here, finding our voice online and sharing our experiences matters most.
    I’m not saying, you can’t get your name out there and establish a strong reputation in other non-digital ways. But, I think it might be important for anyone interested in the field of education and technology to develop a professional network through Twitter and blogging. Even though, I’m not very active on social media these days, I’ve only sent out one tweet, and have never kept a running blog, it’s become important for me to be “responsible” for the digital footprint I leave behind. Going forward, I will be the architect of my digital life, so that I don’t continue along this path of haphazard digital existence.

    What are your thoughts? Do you see yourself changing your online visibility? Do you have any digital presence goals for the next two years?

    If you have any plans to cultivate a stronger digital identity, check out this link: 5 steps to developing a stronger online presence

    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you for your comment!

      I feel a great deal of conflict about having a large(er) digital presence. Up until now (quite literally, now) i have always been strong in my desire to keep my personal and professional life private. I think this is due to being witness to a deluge of political opinions, medical opinions, and other social observations that we all know occur on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. I have always been cautious to not post opinions or content that could be construed as anything other than ‘simply a picture of my dog’, to avoid being categorized by people I may or may not know. Speakers from the symposium, like Catherine Cronin, did mention that vulnerability is good (but risky) and I think that this program will help me lean towards more vulnerable levels of ‘openness’.

      This program is going to push my boundaries, for example the blog being viewable to all is something that makes me nervous. I think it’s my imposter syndrome kicking in, worrying that my peers or others may review my work and think “she has no idea what she is talking about!”. So, in a very long response, I think that my main goal for the next two years, is to become more comfortable with an open digital presence. I still don’t know if that will transcend to my solely personal platforms, but that may be a result of my learning over the duration of our program!

  3. I love that you did so much work to assemble all those icons! I agree – we have larger presences than we think we do until we do this type of conscious mapping. (I also had to go and look some of them up…)

    I noticed when I did my own map that there were apps that no longer showed up in my map, such as Twitter (which I’ve deleted, then restarted) and others that I feel just don’t apply to me (TikTok). For me, these types of choices have been due to ethical choices, as well as just not having time to keep up on all the trends. Over the past years, have you found that you’ve consolidated your presence in certain areas over others?

    1. Thanks for commenting Corie! I have definitely found that I have consolidated by presence in some areas. My map circulation now primarily exists in about 3 apps, with some used as periphery only. Similar to you, there are apps that I have used that simply don’t apply to me (like TikTok, snapchat) however, with that said I keep them around so I can monitor my kids activities. Many of my decisions have also been ethical, I try to look at content delivered on all platforms and weigh how much harm they can have to myself or my kids before I engage with them.

  4. Excellent use of the logos! I recognize most logos, but what is the blue one in the bottom left?

    An intriguing entry in comparison to my personal map is your use was Amazon. Do you regularly post reviews or your own products? I find myself a visitor through and through and love to here your insight to someone who is more of a resident.

    – Zac

    1. Hey Zac! Thanks for your comment! I actually had to think a fair amount about whether I was a resident or visitor in regards to Amazon. Now that I have had more time to think about it, I believe that I misappropriated my residency status. I do use the platform frequently, to purchase and review goods. however, now that I think more about it, I am not searchable by those inputs on the Amazon platform. In a similar but difference sense, I do use google reviews as well, and in that regard someone CAN search my name and find out all about what i thought of my dental service, or the car dealership I recently purchased from. I am sure learning a lot about the resident/visitor concept!

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