When I used to teach solely English Language Learners, I would share in their excitement the first time they would run into class and say, "Miss! I dreamed in English last night!" For those students, that marked a transition from being a Visitor in the English language, to being a Resident in the English language. Most of them will always remember that day, or that dream. It marked a major transition, especially because they were trying really hard to make that transition. They wanted, even needed to reside in the English language. My favorite conversations involved dreams they had that were part English, and part native language- as I liked to think that meant they saw their bilingual capabilities as something of value. But I digress... I bring this up because I had a difficult time remembering the details of my early experiences on the internet. If I remember correctly, my first online experience involved a dial-up connection to AOL in order to check my email. So exciting! After that, though, my memory fails me. I don't remember when I applied for my Visitor Visa for the internet- that is to say, when I realized the world wide web as a collection of tools in an "untidy toolbox." I don't remember when I began to think of the internet as a solution or an answer or an inspiration or a space in which to extend relationships or connections. As I watched Dr. White's lecture on the Visitor/Resident theory concerning the internet, I was quick to label myself as a resident, but unlike my ELD students, I don't remember that moment - when I moved from Visitor to Resident. It just sort of happened.
Through most of Dr. White's lecture I could see myself as completely resident. I am social within social networks and definitely enjoy the connection and ability to extend my relationships with people. I live part of every day online in some significant way. Then he got to the part where he brought up Andy Powell's commentary regarding Twitter, and how, to paraphrase, one can be taught how to use Twitter, but that doesn't mean that one will get Twitter. That's when I realized that, yes, I am a resident of the internet, but I am not all the way down at the far end of the spectrum with the landowners. Maybe I rent space, with the intention to settle down and buy soon. I feel completely comfortable on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc. But for some reason, even though I know how to use Twitter, and I do use it, I don't completely get it. I don't get what's so great about it. When I go through my feed of probably amazing tweets, most times I stop on a few tried and true sources to spend a few moments with, but mostly I see far too much for me to possibly read- and I think, "What is the point?" I think the other reason Twitter is not my favorite venue is that I am limited to 140 characters! (I just laughed out loud) That's ridiculous for this wordy gal. There is no room for adjectives!
One question I have is this: I have several friends who are quite tech savvy, utilize the web frequently as a tool, and have multiple social media accounts. BUT- they call themselves Lurkers. They lurk- they rarely post- maybe out of shyness or maybe because of privacy preferences. Would these people be considered visitors of the internet?