The Digital Tourist vs. The Digital Vacationer… “A nice place to visit, but do I really want to live there”

Last week I was really connecting with the idea of “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants” vs. “Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents.”  I found the discussion really interesting because I often find myself conflicted.  My age determines that I would be a “digital native” but I have never felt that way.  While I am more comfortable with existing in the digital age more so than many of my elders, I find that I am still hesitant to partake fully in the digital age.  I sometimes am naive of the widespread impact my digital footprint can have and I struggle with getting my thoughts and ideas out there for the world to see.  This year is my first Facebook birthday, and my Twitter account still consists of only a small network, but I carefully and thoughtfully consider what I post about myself and what I decide to share with the “world” of social media.

I consider myself to more toy with the idea of being a “digital tourist”.  Often times I love to visit the world of digital media to see all that it has to offer on both on a personal level as well as a professional.  I love to learn about it’s “traditions and customs”, I’m willing to put in the effort to learn a little of the “language” and during my time there I can be come fully immersed in the culture.   But like the end of a vacation, it is always nice to come home.  I don’t consider myself a “digital resident” because I don’t consider it to be integral in my daily life.  Sure I could even see myself as “digital vacationer”  the aspect of my digital presence that is very selfish and personal.  I like to post pictures of my family and check in on only friends.  I can kill an hour on imgur, no problem.  But those aren’t meaningful contributions to the digital world.

Photo Credit: blog100days via Compfight cc

I think the goal for me is to move beyond being a passive observer to an active participant. I was reading Cindy Adams post this week and agree that there have been times when I wanted to post because something that “pushed my buttons” or had upset me.  But as she said, it is important to stop and think.  Becoming a part of the “digital world” carries with it consequences and sometimes unknown implications.   However there are times when our voices need to be shared in a meaningful way.   I applaud Justine Stephanson who is attempting blogs with her class this semester.  But as I embark on Twitter with my classroom I am still hesitant considering all of the implications that could result in my leadership into somewhat of the “unknown”.  But I know that the “unknown” is a space that I have to get more comfortable with because it is a part of my students world.

Photo Credit: CitySkylineSouvenir via Compfight cc

In the end I would agree that we do move in a continuum in our digital lives.  While I may not be fully comfortable taking up a permanent residence there, I do know that the “travel bug” does exist somewhere within me, I just want to make sure my itinerary is fully planned before I jump in headfirst.


2 thoughts on “The Digital Tourist vs. The Digital Vacationer… “A nice place to visit, but do I really want to live there”

  1. Cortney,
    Even though I am a person who is quite active on Twitter, I understand your hesitancy regarding diving into the world of social media. Honestly it’s better to be prudent and considerate of what you post and how you intend on using the platform than jumping in without a thought to what you post. As you embark on your journey into Twitter with your students, have conversations with them some of your worries, as this is good conversation that lends itself to the meaning digital citizenship conversations. There are some good Twitter for Educator resources you might want to check out and explore with your students before you embark on the field trip into the Twittersphere


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